Immunotherapy of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), by immune checkpoint inhibitors, has profoundly improved the clinical management of advanced disease. However, only a fraction of patients respond and no effective predictive factors have been defined. Here, we discuss the prospects for identification of such predictors of response to immunotherapy, by fostering an in-depth analysis of the immune landscape of NSCLC. The emerging picture, from several recent studies, is that the immune contexture of NSCLC lesions is a complex and heterogeneous feature, as documented by analysis for frequency, phenotype and spatial distribution of innate and adaptive immune cells, and by characterization of functional status of inhibitory receptor+ T cells. The complexity of the immune landscape of NSCLC stems from the interaction of several factors, including tumor histology, molecular subtype, main oncogenic drivers, nonsynonymous mutational load, tumor aneuploidy, clonal heterogeneity and tumor evolution, as well as the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. All these factors contribute to shape NSCLC immune profiles that have clear prognostic significance. An integrated analysis of the immune and molecular profile of the neoplastic lesions may allow to define the potential predictive role of the immune landscape for response to immunotherapy.
- Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/immunology
- Lung Neoplasms/immunology
- Prospective Studies