Review Article

Elements of cancer immunity and the cancer–immune set point

  • Nature volume 541, pages 321330 (19 January 2017)
  • doi:10.1038/nature21349
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Abstract

Immunotherapy is proving to be an effective therapeutic approach in a variety of cancers. But despite the clinical success of antibodies against the immune regulators CTLA4 and PD-L1/PD-1, only a subset of people exhibit durable responses, suggesting that a broader view of cancer immunity is required. Immunity is influenced by a complex set of tumour, host and environmental factors that govern the strength and timing of the anticancer response. Clinical studies are beginning to define these factors as immune profiles that can predict responses to immunotherapy. In the context of the cancer-immunity cycle, such factors combine to represent the inherent immunological status — or 'cancer–immune set point' — of an individual.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank S. Turley, M. Albert, W. Grossman, L. Delamarre, P. Hegde, A. Murthy, J. Grogan, G. Jarmy, L. Molinero, D. Berger and K. McClellan for their review of and input into this manuscript, and L. Molinero for coining the terms immune desert and hyperexhausted. Medical writing assistance was provided by L. Yauch of Health Interactions and paid for by F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

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Affiliations

  1. Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.

    • Daniel S. Chen
    •  & Ira Mellman

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Competing interests

D.S.C. and I.M. are employees of Genentech, Inc.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ira Mellman.

Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints.

Reviewer Information Nature thanks G. Dranoff, W.-H. Fridman and J. Wolchok for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Supplementary information

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  1. 1.

    Supplementary Figure 1

    Cancer immunotherapy-based combination studies underway in 2016.

Supplementary Information is linked to the online version of the paper at go.nature.com/2iiur42.

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