This review aims to understand the concept of oral cancer immunology through the notion of immune profiling, immunoediting and immunotherapy, and to gain knowledge regarding its application for the management of oral cancer patients. Oral cancer is an immunogenic tumor where the cells of the tumor microenvironment play an important role in tumorigenesis. Understanding the mechanism of these modulations can help design immunotherapeutic strategies in oral cancer patients. This article gives an overview of immunomodulation in the oral cancer tumor microenvironment, with concepts of immune profiling, immunoediting and immunotherapy. English literature searches via Google Scholar, Web of Science, EBSCO, Scopus, and PubMed database were performed with the key words immunology, tumor microenvironment, cells, cross talk, immune profiling, biomarkers, inflammation, gene expression, techniques, immunoediting, immunosurveillance, tumor escape, immunotherapy, immune checkpoint inhibitors, vaccines in cancer, oral cancer, and head and neck cancer. Original research articles, reviews, and case reports published from 2016-2021 (n = 81) were included to appraise different topics, and were discussed under the following subsections. Literature published on oral cancer immunology reveals that oral cancer immune profiling with appropriate markers and techniques and knowledge on immunoediting concepts can help design and play an effective role in immunotherapeutic management of oral cancer patients. An evaluation of oral cancer immunology helps to determine its role in tumorigenesis, and immunotherapy could be the emerging drift in the effective management of oral cancer.
Keywords: biomarkers; gene expression; immune profiling; immunology; immunotherapy; oral cancer; tumor escape; tumor microenvironment.