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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2017 Dec;14(12):717-734. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2017.101. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

The immune contexture in cancer prognosis and treatment.

Author information

Cancer, Immune Control and Escape Team, INSERM UMRS 1138, Cordeliers Research Centre.
Paris Descartes University (Paris 5), Sorbonne Paris Cité, INSERM UMRS 1138, Cordeliers Research Centre.
University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC; Paris 6), Sorbonne University, UMRS 1138, Cordeliers Research Centre, 15 rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, 75006 Paris, France.
INSERM U1015, Institut Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus (GRCC), 14 rue Édouard Vaillant, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France.
Equipe 11 labellisée Ligue Nationale Contrele Cancer, INSERM UMRS 1138, Cordeliers Research Centre, 15 rue de l'Ecole de Médecine, 75006 Paris, France.
Metabolomics and Cell Biology Platforms, GRCC, 114, rue Édouard-Vaillant, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France.
Pôle de Biologie, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, AP-HP, 20 rue Leblanc, 75015 Paris, France.
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska University Hospital, H2:00 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.


Immunotherapy is currently the most rapidly advancing area of clinical oncology, and provides the unprecedented opportunity to effectively treat, and even cure, several previously untreatable malignancies. A growing awareness exists of the fact that the success of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in which the patient's disease can be stabilized well beyond discontinuation of treatment (and occasionally is cured), also relies on the induction of a durable anticancer immune response. Indeed, the local immune infiltrate undergoes dynamic changes that accompany a shift from a pre-existing immune response to a therapy-induced immune response. As a result, the immune contexture, which is determined by the density, composition, functional state and organization of the leukocyte infiltrate of the tumour, can yield information that is relevant to prognosis, prediction of a treatment response and various other pharmacodynamic parameters. Several complementary technologies can be used to explore the immune contexture of tumours, and to derive biomarkers that could enable the adaptation of individual treatment approaches for each patient, as well as monitoring a response to anticancer therapies.

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