Leukocyte trafficking: Can we bring the fight to the tumor?

Russell K. Pachynski, Jonathon Nazha, Holbrook Kohrt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Control of leukocyte trafficking plays a critical role in the establishment of effective immune responses. It is now well established that the number or ratio of effector to suppressor immune cells within the tumor microenvironment can significantly impact tumor growth and clinical outcomes. Recently approved immunotherapies by the FDA, and those in development, aim to stimulate effector immune cell function. For example, many checkpoint inhibitors seek to stimulate an immune response to tumors by reversing T-cell exhaustion. However, activation of the immune response outside the tumor microenvironment can lead to sometimes fatal immune-mediated adverse events -- the result of "on-target, off-tumor" effects. Thus, control of localization of these activated effector cells remains a critical component of optimizing tumor response while minimizing immune-mediated adverse events. Chemokines and chemoattractants, along with their receptors on immune cells, govern leukocyte trafficking; thus, understanding their expression pattern in the context of the tumor microenvironment and developing approaches to favorably alter those should lead to improved efficacy of current immunotherapeutics. This review highlights the background of cancer immunotherapy, leukocyte trafficking, and some novel approaches being utilized to optimize recruitment of effector immune cells into the tumor microenvironment. Future combinatorial immunotherapy should incorporate therapeutics aimed at 1) favorably altering the tumor microenvironment, 2) activating effector immune cells, and 3) optimizing effector cell trafficking into tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalDiscovery medicine
Issue number115
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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