Tackling immunomonitoring in gastrointestinal cancer

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The growing awareness that the immune system is a key player in the antitumoral response and the excellent clinical results achieved in some settings with anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD1)/programmed death ligand 1 (PDL1) and anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA4) drugs has led to the rise of immunotherapy as a supplement or an alternative to conventional cancer treatment. The high costs associated with these therapies, their significant toxicity and the need to understand and circumvent immune escape mechanisms raise the urgent need for immunological assessment of therapy response. The study of the immunological parameters before, during and after treatment is referred to as immunomonitoring. This review discusses the current knowledge of immunomonitoring markers in gastrointestinal cancers.

Recent findings

The last decade has seen a collaborative effort to standardize the assays performed in clinical trials to assess response to immunotherapy. Since then, multiple studies have been conducted on blood samples, biopsies and surgical specimens to determine their immunological profiles leading to the identification of several immunological markers possessing a predictive value of response to treatment.

Summary

Future research will focus on detangling the predictive value of immune markers in different therapeutic models, and also to develop new noninvasive means to monitor the immune response of patients.

Video abstract

http://links.lww.com/COON/A20.

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