Historical perspective and future directions: computational science in immuno-oncology

J Immunother Cancer. 2024 Jan 8;12(1):e008306. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2023-008306.


Immuno-oncology holds promise for transforming patient care having achieved durable clinical response rates across a variety of advanced and metastatic cancers. Despite these achievements, only a minority of patients respond to immunotherapy, underscoring the importance of elucidating molecular mechanisms responsible for response and resistance to inform the development and selection of treatments. Breakthroughs in molecular sequencing technologies have led to the generation of an immense amount of genomic and transcriptomic sequencing data that can be mined to uncover complex tumor-immune interactions using computational tools. In this review, we discuss existing and emerging computational methods that contextualize the composition and functional state of the tumor microenvironment, infer the reactivity and clonal dynamics from reconstructed immune cell receptor repertoires, and predict the antigenic landscape for immune cell recognition. We further describe the advantage of multi-omics analyses for capturing multidimensional relationships and artificial intelligence techniques for integrating omics data with histopathological and radiological images to encapsulate patterns of treatment response and tumor-immune biology. Finally, we discuss key challenges impeding their widespread use and clinical application and conclude with future perspectives. We are hopeful that this review will both serve as a guide for prospective researchers seeking to use existing tools for scientific discoveries and inspire the optimization or development of novel tools to enhance precision, ultimately expediting advancements in immunotherapy that improve patient survival and quality of life.

Keywords: Biostatistics; Computational Biology; Gene Expression Profiling; Immunotherapy; Tumor Microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex