Special Issue "Deciphering How Alterations in DNA Repair Pathways Perturb Cancer Immune Microenvironment"

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giovanni Germano
Guest Editor
Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Italy
Interests: identification of cancer vulnerabilities studying in which way the DNA repair pathways might spark anticancer immunity; DNA repair; neoantigens; immune system; cancer immunology; immune genomics
Dr. Laura Surace
Guest Editor
Institut Pasteur, France
Interests: deciphering human innate lymphoid cell biology; innate immunity; immunometabolism; cancer immunology
Dr. Giuseppe Rospo

Guest Editor
Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Italy
Interests: analysis of high throughput sequencing data; development and optimization of bioinformatic tools and pipelines; tumor microenvironment; cancer evolution; identification of focal or structural genetic variants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Immunotherapy is now another effective arrow in the medical oncologist’s bow. The chimeric-antigen receptor (CAR) strategy against specific tumoral epitopes (e.g., CD19) guarantees a prolonged response in hematological malignancy; another immunotherapeutic approach, the immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), has shown remarkable responses in melanoma, lung cancer, and mismatch repair (MMR)-deficient tumors, although only a limited fraction of patients respond to ICB treatments. Defects in the MMR machinery are the origin of genetic alterations, such as single nucleotide variants and small or large DNA deletions, which can be monitored by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and current computational methods. These alterations can be expressed and presented by Major Histocompatibility Complex I (MHCI) to the immune system, promoting immune surveillance and thereby prolonging the overall survival and/or progression-free survival of cancer patients treated with ICBs. However, cells have evolved multiple mechanisms beyond MMR to maintain DNA sequence fidelity and integrity. It is known that alterations in DNA repair mechanisms might spark genomic instability and modify cellular metabolism. Upon progression, tumor cells rely on different metabolic pathways that empower cellular division and survival while creating a tumor microenvironment that is detrimental for immune infiltrates; however, we have evidence that some DNA repair mechanisms, once altered in cancer, might be beneficial for patients when combined with immune therapies. Novel technologies, such as high-throughput sequencing data and modern bioinformatics methods, favor a better characterization of the intrinsic and extrinsic features of the cancer-immune system network.

This Special Issue aims to build a more solid bridge among DNA repair alterations, cancer immune responses, and immune therapies through biochemical and bioinformatics approaches. To this end, the characterization of the molecular mechanisms behind the favorable outcomes of immunotherapy-treated patients and DNA repair defects might be relevant for identifying the biomarkers of response and novel therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Giovanni Germano
Dr. Laura Surace
Dr. Giuseppe Rospo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biology is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Immunogenomics
  • Cancer immunology
  • DNA repair
  • Neoantigens
  • Whole exome/genome sequencing
  • Metabolism
  • Immune metabolism
  • Immune therapy
  • Innate immunity
  • Adaptive immunity

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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