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Cancers 2015, 7(4), 2397-2414; doi:10.3390/cancers7040900

Anti-Tumor Immunity in Head and Neck Cancer: Understanding the Evidence, How Tumors Escape and Immunotherapeutic Approaches

1
Head and Neck Surgery Branch, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
2
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maie A. St. John
Received: 17 September 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 30 November 2015 / Published: 9 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Head and Neck Cancer)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [616 KB, uploaded 9 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Many carcinogen- and human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated head and neck cancers (HNSCC) display a hematopoietic cell infiltrate indicative of a T-cell inflamed phenotype and an underlying anti-tumor immune response. However, by definition, these tumors have escaped immune elimination and formed a clinically significant malignancy. A number of both genetic and environmental mechanisms may allow such immune escape, including selection of poorly antigenic cancer cell subsets, tumor produced proinflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokines, recruitment of immunosuppressive immune cell subsets into the tumor and expression of checkpoint pathway components that limit T-cell responses. Here, we explore concepts of antigenicity and immunogenicity in solid tumors, summarize the scientific and clinical data that supports the use of immunotherapeutic approaches in patients with head and neck cancer, and discuss immune-based treatment approaches currently in clinical trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: syngeneic mouse models; tumor antigen; innate immunity; adaptive immunity; immunosuppression; immunogenicity; antigenicity; checkpoint inhibitors; vaccines; immunotherapy syngeneic mouse models; tumor antigen; innate immunity; adaptive immunity; immunosuppression; immunogenicity; antigenicity; checkpoint inhibitors; vaccines; immunotherapy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Allen, C.T.; Clavijo, P.E.; Van Waes, C.; Chen, Z. Anti-Tumor Immunity in Head and Neck Cancer: Understanding the Evidence, How Tumors Escape and Immunotherapeutic Approaches. Cancers 2015, 7, 2397-2414.

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