• Cytotoxic Chemotherapy and CD4+ Effector T Cells: An Emerging Alliance for Durable Antitumor Effects

      Ding, Zhi-Chun; Zhou, Gang; GHSU Cancer Center; Department of Medicine (2012-02-6)
      Standard cytotoxic chemotherapy can initially achieve high response rates, but relapses often occur in patients and represent a severe clinical problem. As increasing numbers of chemotherapeutic agents are found to have immunostimulatory effects, there is a growing interest to combine chemotherapy and immunotherapy for synergistic antitumor effects and improved clinical benefits. Findings from recent studies suggest that highly activated, polyfunctional CD4+ effector T cells have tremendous potential in strengthening and sustaining the overall host antitumor immunity in the postchemotherapy window. This review focuses on the latest progresses regarding the impact of chemotherapy on CD4+ T-cell phenotype and function and discusses the prospect of exploiting CD4+ T cells to control tumor progression and prevent relapse after chemotherapy.
    • Towards Curative Cancer Immunotherapy: Overcoming Posttherapy Tumor Escape

      Zhou, Gang; Levitsky, Hyam; GHSU Cancer Center; Department of Medicine (2012-05-31)
      The past decade has witnessed the evolvement of cancer immunotherapy as an increasingly effective therapeutic modality, evidenced by the approval of two immune-based products by the FDA, that is, the cancer vaccine Provenge (sipuleucel-T) for prostate cancer and the antagonist antibody against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) ipilimumab for advanced melanoma. In addition, the clinical evaluations of a variety of promising immunotherapy drugs are well under way. Benefiting from more efficacious immunotherapeutic agents and treatment strategies, a number of recent clinical studies have achieved unprecedented therapeutic outcomes in some patients with certain types of cancers. Despite these advances, however, the efficacy of most cancer immunotherapies currently under clinical development has been modest. A recurring scenario is that therapeutic maneuvers initially led to measurable antitumor immune responses in cancer patients but ultimately failed to improve patient outcomes. It is increasingly recognized that tumor cells can antagonize therapy-induced immune attacks through a variety of counterregulation mechanisms, which represent a fundamental barrier to the success of cancer immunotherapy. Herein we summarize the findings from some recent preclinical and clinical studies, focusing on how tumor cells advance their survival and expansion by hijacking therapy-induced immune effector mechanisms that would otherwise mediate their destruction.