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01.12.2019 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Clinical and Translational Medicine 1/2019

New therapeutic targets for cancer: the interplay between immune and metabolic checkpoints and gut microbiota

Clinical and Translational Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2019
Babita Agrawal
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Transformation and growth of tumor cells are associated with profound alterations in neighbouring cells and their environment, together forming the tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME provides a conducive but complex milieu for the tumors to thrive while incapacitating the immune cells that home there as part of our natural immunosurveillance mechanism. The orchestration of this successful survival strategy by tumor cells is associated with exploitation of numerous metabolic and immune checkpoints, as well as metabolic reprogramming in the tumor cells. Together these form an intricate network of feedback mechanisms that favor the growing tumor. In addition, an ecosystem of microbiota, proximal or distal to tumors, influences the successful survival or elimination of tumor cells mediated by immune cells. Discovery and clinical application of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) i.e., monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) blocking specific immune checkpoints CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1, have revolutionized therapy of various cancers. However, they are still associated with limited response rates, severe immune-related adverse events, development of resistance, and more serious exacerbation of cancer progression termed hyper-progressive disease. Checkpoint inhibitors only represent a milestone and not the finish-line in the quest for treating and curing cancer. Efforts are underway to investigate and develop inhibitors of other immune as well as metabolic checkpoint molecules. Future therapy for various cancers is projected to target immune and metabolic checkpoints and the microbiota together.
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