Immunotherapy is being tested intensively in clinical trials for prostate cancer; it includes immune checkpoint inhibition, prostate specific antigen (PSA) vaccines and dendritic cell-based strategies. Despite increasing evidence for clinical responses, the consensus of multiple trials is that prostate cancers are poorly responsive to immunotherapy. Prostate cancer has a high degree of pathological and genetic heterogeneity compared to other cancer types, which may account for immunotherapeutic resistance. This hypothesis also implies that select types of prostate tumors may be differentially responsive to immune-based strategies and that the clinical stage, pathological grade and underlying genetic landscape may be important criteria in identifying tumors that respond to immune therapies. One strategy is to target oncogenic driver pathways in combination with immunotherapies with the goal of overcoming tumor immunity and broadening the number of patients achieving a clinical response. In this analysis, we address the hypothesis that driver oncogenic signaling pathways regulate cancer progression, tumor immunity and resistance to current immune therapeutics in prostate cancer. We propose that increased responsiveness may be achieved through the combined use of immunotherapies and inhibitors targeting tumor cell autonomous pathways that contribute towards anti-tumor immunity in patients with prostate cancer.
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