B cells and the coordination of immune checkpoint inhibitor response in patients with solid tumors

April, 04, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles

Immunotherapy profoundly changed the landscape of cancer therapy by providing long-lasting responses in subsets of patients and is now the standard of care in several solid tumor types. However, immunotherapy activity beyond conventional immune checkpoint inhibition is plateauing, and biomarkers are overall lacking to guide treatment selection. Most studies have focused on T cell engagement and response, but there is a growing evidence that B cells may be key players in the establishment of an organized immune response, notably through tertiary lymphoid structures. Mechanisms of B cell response include antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and phagocytosis, promotion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, maintenance of antitumor immune memory. In several solid tumor types, higher levels of B cells, specific B cell subpopulations, or the presence of tertiary lymphoid structures have been associated with improved outcomes on immune checkpoint inhibitors. The fate of B cell subpopulations may be widely influenced by the cytokine milieu, with versatile roles for B-specific cytokines B cell activating factor and B cell attracting chemokine-1/CXCL13, and a master regulatory role for IL-10. Roles of B cell-specific immune checkpoints such as TIM-1 are emerging and could represent potential therapeutic targets. Overall, the expanding field of B cells in solid tumors of holds promise for the improvement of current immunotherapy strategies and patient selection.

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