Emerging trends in the immunotherapy of pancreatic cancer

Kasturi Banerjee, Sushil Kumar, Kathleen A. Ross, Shailendra Gautam, Brittany Poelaert, Mohd Wasim Nasser, Abhijit Aithal, Rakesh Bhatia, Michael J. Wannemuehler, Balaji Narasimhan, Joyce C. Solheim, Surinder K. Batra, Maneesh Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Pancreatic cancer (PC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., claiming approximately 43,000 lives every year. Much like other solid tumors, PC evades the host immune surveillance by manipulating immune cells to establish an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME). Therefore, targeting and reinstating the patient's immune system could serve as a powerful therapeutic tool. Indeed, immunotherapy has emerged in recent years as a potential adjunct treatment for solid tumors including PC. Immunotherapy modulates the host's immune response to tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), eradicates cancer cells by reducing host tolerance to TAAs and provides both short- and long-term protection against the disease. Passive immunotherapies like monoclonal antibodies or engineered T-cell based therapies directly target tumor cells by recognizing TAAs. Active immunotherapies, like cancer vaccines, on the other hand elicit a long-lasting immune response via activation of the patient's immune cells against cancer cells. Several immunotherapy strategies have been tested for anti-tumor responses alone and in combination with standard care in multiple preclinical and clinical studies. In this review, we discuss various immunotherapy strategies used currently and their efficacy in abrogating self-antigen tolerance and immunosuppression, as well as their ability to eradicate PC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - Mar 28 2018


  • Immunotherapy
  • PD-L1
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Tumor associated antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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