Barriers to immune cell infiltration in tumors

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles

Increased immune cell infiltration into tumors is associated with improved patient survival and predicts response to immune therapies. Thus, identification of factors that determine the extent of immune infiltration is crucial, so that methods to intervene on these targets can be developed. T cells enter tumor tissues through the vasculature, and under control of interactions between homing receptors on the T cells and homing receptor ligands (HRLs) expressed by tumor vascular endothelium and tumor cell nests. HRLs are often deficient in tumors, and there also may be active barriers to infiltration. These remain understudied but may be crucial for enhancing immune-mediated cancer control. Multiple intratumoral and systemic therapeutic approaches show promise to enhance T cell infiltration, including both approved therapies and experimental therapies. This review highlights the intracellular and extracellular determinants of immune cell infiltration into tumors, barriers to infiltration, and approaches for intervention to enhance infiltration and response to immune therapies.

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