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Review

Cancer Research Frontiers. 2016 May; 2(2): 252-276. doi: 10.17980/2016.252

Recent Advancements in Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy

Ying Ma1,2,6, Huamin Wang3, Yan Yang2,6, Craig D. Logsdon4,5, Stephen E. Ullrich1,6,7, Patrick Hwu2,6, Anirban Maitra3, Cassian Yee1,2,6

Departments of 1Immunology, 2Melanoma Medical Oncology, 3Pathology, 4Cancer Biology, 5Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, and 6the Center for Cancer Immunology Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and 7The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030.

 

*Corresponding author: Ying Ma, MD, PhD, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology / Immunology, Unit 904, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX, 77030; tel: 713-745-7412; fax: 713-563-3280; E-mail: yingma@mdanderson.org. Cassian Yee, MD, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology / Immunology, Unit 904, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX, 77030; tel: 713-563-3750; fax: 713-563-3424; E-mail: cyee@mdanderson.org.

Citation: Ying Ma, et al. Recent Advancements in Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy. Cancer Research Frontiers. 2016 May; 2(2): 252-276. doi: 10.17980/2016.252

Copyright: @ 2016 Ying Ma, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Competing Interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Received Feb 1, 2016; Revised May 6, 201; Accepted May 16, 2016. Published May 26, 2016

 

 

Abstract

The overarching goal of this review is to highlight the current progress of immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer. Despite all the efforts, pancreatic cancer remains a disease that is refractory to almost all therapies and immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer remains in its infancy. In this review, we summarize promising advances and major hurdles in developing immunotherapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer as presented in recent publications and a clinical trial database. Notably, a combination regimen of chemotherapy followed by immunotherapy appears to be superior to chemotherapy alone, wherein chemotherapeutic agents may play a dual role by reducing overall tumor burden through direct killing of cancerous cells and by indirect release of pro-inflammatory molecules and tumor associated antigens which, when presented in an immunogenic fashion, may function as an in situ “vaccine”. Critically, the timing of administration of standard chemotherapy can markedly impact the induction of antitumor responses. We anticipate that among the gamut of combination immunotherapy and chemo-radiation therapies that are now being evaluated, we will eventually be able to optimize a regimen that can generate long-lasting responses and usher a new weapon in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Key Words: pancreatic cancer; immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment

 

 

 

 

 

 

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