Immune Responsiveness of Human Tumours

Ena Wang, Francesco M. Marincola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Immune responsiveness of solid tumours may be dependent upon factors related to the genetic background of patients or to distinct characteristics of individual tumours that may alter their microenvironment to facilitate or inhibit immune responses occurring naturally in the tumour-bearing host. Whether either or both of these categories of factors play a prominent role in determining tumour rejection in natural conditions (spontaneous regression) or during immune therapy remains to be confirmed. Several lines of evidence derived from experimental animal or in vitro models suggest that immune responsiveness results from a combination of genetic and epigenetic factors that modulate the activation of effector immune responses at the tumour site. However, direct ex vivo observations in humans are scant, particularly when tumour-host interactions have been analysed in the target tissue: the tumour site. Available technology allows direct and kinetic analyses of such interactions in real time by serial sampling of lesions using minimally invasive techniques such as fine needle aspirates. Serial sampling permits the study of the biology of cancer while leaving the studied lesion in place. This permits prospective evaluation of the natural history of the lesion left in place to identify biomarkers as predictors of immune responsiveness to a given treatment. In addition, serial sampling during and after treatment may inform about the actual mechanisms of action of the treatment and its biological effects, including the induction of the tumour escape mechanism. In this chapter we will systematically review the tool and strategies available for this direct ex vivo analyses with particular attention on high-throughput hypothesis-generating methods. In addition, insights into the postulated mechanism of immune responsiveness in humans will be discussed based on pilot studies performed in this vein.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmunogenomics and Human Disease
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780470015308
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • Active-specific vaccination
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • Hypothesis-driven research
  • Hypothesis-generating methods
  • Immune editing
  • Immune responsiveness
  • Toll receptor ligands
  • Tumour immune responsiveness
  • Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Wang, E., & Marincola, F. M. (2006). Immune Responsiveness of Human Tumours. In Immunogenomics and Human Disease (pp. 133-151). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.