Hypoxia, a hallmark of solid tumors, determines the selection of invasive and aggressive malignant clones displaying resistance to radiotherapy, conventional chemotherapy or targeted therapy. The recent introduction of immunotherapy, based on immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, has markedly transformed the prognosis in some tumors but also revealed the existence of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance. In the current review we highlight hypoxia as a culprit of immunotherapy failure. Indeed, multiple metabolic cross talks between tumor and stromal cells determine the prevalence of immunosuppressive populations within the hypoxic tumor microenvironment and confer upon tumor cells resistance to ICPIs and CAR T-cells. Notably, hypoxia-triggered angiogenesis causes immunosuppression, adding another piece to the puzzle of hypoxia-induced immunoresistance. If these factors concurrently contribute to the resistance to immunotherapy, they also unveil an unexpected Achille's heel of hypoxic tumors, providing the basis for innovative combination therapies that may rescue the efficacy of ICPIs and CAR T-cells. Although these treatments reveal both a bright side and a dark side in terms of efficacy and safety in clinical trials, they represent the future solution to enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy against hypoxic and therapy-resistant solid tumors.

Hypoxia as a driver of resistance to immunotherapy

Kopecka J.;Salaroglio I. C.;Saponara S.;Riganti C.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Hypoxia, a hallmark of solid tumors, determines the selection of invasive and aggressive malignant clones displaying resistance to radiotherapy, conventional chemotherapy or targeted therapy. The recent introduction of immunotherapy, based on immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, has markedly transformed the prognosis in some tumors but also revealed the existence of intrinsic or acquired drug resistance. In the current review we highlight hypoxia as a culprit of immunotherapy failure. Indeed, multiple metabolic cross talks between tumor and stromal cells determine the prevalence of immunosuppressive populations within the hypoxic tumor microenvironment and confer upon tumor cells resistance to ICPIs and CAR T-cells. Notably, hypoxia-triggered angiogenesis causes immunosuppression, adding another piece to the puzzle of hypoxia-induced immunoresistance. If these factors concurrently contribute to the resistance to immunotherapy, they also unveil an unexpected Achille's heel of hypoxic tumors, providing the basis for innovative combination therapies that may rescue the efficacy of ICPIs and CAR T-cells. Although these treatments reveal both a bright side and a dark side in terms of efficacy and safety in clinical trials, they represent the future solution to enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy against hypoxic and therapy-resistant solid tumors.
2021
59
100787
100805
CAR T-cells; Drug resistance; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Tumor hypoxia
Kopecka J.; Salaroglio I.C.; Perez-Ruiz E.; Sarmento-Ribeiro A.B.; Saponara S.; De Las Rivas J.; Riganti C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1845770
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