CANCER

Immunotherapy—the forest and the trees

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Science  03 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6328, pp. 921-922
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6328.921-d

The clinical success of cancer immunotherapy has been both gratifying and perplexing to immunologists. One unsolved mystery is why fewer than 20% of cancer patients respond to this treatment. Spitzer et al. hypothesized that immune cells influencing the efficacy of immunotherapy reside outside the tumor microenvironment, the focus of most previous research. They used mass cytometry to assess system-wide immune responses that contribute to antitumor immunity in mice treated with immunotherapy. They found that CD4 T cells in peripheral tissues continued to proliferate after tumor rejection and were required for protection against new tumors. These results raise the possibility that therapies exploiting the antitumor activity of CD4 T cells may benefit cancer patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies.

Cell 168, 487 (2017).

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