Decoding the tumor microenvironment with spatial technologies

Nat Immunol. 2023 Dec;24(12):1982-1993. doi: 10.1038/s41590-023-01678-9. Epub 2023 Nov 27.


Visualization of the cellular heterogeneity and spatial architecture of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is becoming increasingly important to understand mechanisms of disease progression and therapeutic response. This is particularly relevant in the era of cancer immunotherapy, in which the contexture of immune cell positioning within the tumor landscape has been proven to affect efficacy. Although single-cell technologies have mostly replaced conventional approaches to analyze specific cellular subsets within tumors, those that integrate a spatial dimension are now on the rise. In this Review, we assess the strengths and limitations of emerging spatial technologies with a focus on their applications in tumor immunology, as well as forthcoming opportunities for artificial intelligence (AI) and the value of integrating multiomics datasets to achieve a holistic picture of the TME.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment*