Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in the Brain Tumor Immune Microenvironment

Mol Cancer Res. 2023 Jan 18;MCR-22-0920. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-22-0920. Online ahead of print.


Immunotherapy has emerged as a powerful strategy for halting cancer progression. However, primary malignancies affecting the brain have been exempt to this success. Indeed, brain tumors continue to portend severe morbidity and remain a globally lethal disease. Extensive efforts have been directed at understanding how tumor cells survive and propagate within the unique microenvironment of the central nervous system (CNS). Cancer genetic aberrations and metabolic abnormalities provoke a state of persistent endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that in turn promotes tumor growth, invasion, therapeutic resistance, and the dynamic reprogramming of the infiltrating immune cells. Consequently, targeting ER stress is a potential therapeutic approach. In this work, we provide an overview of how ER stress response is advantageous to brain tumor development, discuss the significance of ER stress in governing anti-tumor immunity, and put forth therapeutic strategies of regulating ER stress in order to augment the effect of immunotherapy for primary CNS tumors.