Targeting immune-related biological processes in solid tumors: We do need biomarkers: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

F. Pagni, E. Guerini-Rocco, A.M. Schultheis, G. Grazia, E. Rijavec, M. Ghidini, G. Lopez, K. Venetis, G.A. Croci, U. Malapelle, N. Fusco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunotherapy has become the standard-of-care in many solid tumors. Despite the significant recent achievements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, several issues related to patients’ selection for immunotherapy remain unsolved. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that, in this setting, the vision of a single biomarker is somewhat naïve and imprecise, given that immunotherapy does not follow the rules that we have experienced in the past for targeted therapies. On the other hand, additional immune-related biomarkers that are reliable in real-life clinical practice remain to be identified. Recently, the immune-checkpoint blockade has been approved in the US irrespective of the tumor site of origin. Further histology-agnostic approvals, coupled with with tumor-specific companion diagnostics and guidelines, are expected in this field. In addition, immune-related biomarkers can also have a significant prognostic value. In this review, we provide an overview of the role of these biomarkers and their characterization in the management of lung cancer, melanoma, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, head and neck cancer, renal cell carcinoma, urothelial cancers, and breast cancer. © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInt. J. Mol. Sci.
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Biomarkers
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal tract cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Immunoediting
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Urothelial cancer
  • anaplastic lymphoma kinase
  • atezolizumab
  • avelumab
  • CD20 antigen
  • CD3 antigen
  • CD4 antigen
  • CD8 antigen
  • CXCL9 chemokine
  • cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4
  • durvalumab
  • eosinophil cationic protein
  • epidermal growth factor receptor
  • estrogen receptor
  • gamma interferon
  • gamma interferon inducible protein 10
  • ipilimumab
  • messenger RNA
  • nivolumab
  • pembrolizumab
  • programmed death 1 ligand 1
  • programmed death 1 receptor
  • transcription factor FOXP3
  • tumor marker
  • vasculotropin
  • adaptive immunity
  • breast cancer
  • cancer growth
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • CD4+ T lymphocyte
  • CD8+ T lymphocyte
  • cell activity
  • clinical practice
  • colorectal cancer
  • cytotoxic T lymphocyte
  • endometrium cancer
  • eosinophilia
  • gene expression
  • head and neck cancer
  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • helper cell
  • histology
  • human
  • immune deficiency
  • immune response
  • immunohistochemistry
  • lung cancer
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • melanoma
  • microsatellite instability
  • mismatch repair
  • molecularly targeted therapy
  • nasopharynx carcinoma
  • next generation sequencing
  • non small cell lung cancer
  • overall survival
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • Review
  • solid malignant neoplasm
  • stomach cancer
  • transitional cell carcinoma
  • tumor associated leukocyte
  • tumor immunology


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