Combining Chemotherapy and Immuno-Oncology Agents

It is hypothesized that chemotherapy may help to prime the immune system by lysing tumor cells, resulting in the exposure of tumor antigens to immune cells.1-3 In the lymph node, primed dendritic cells may activate effector T cells to recognize tumor antigens.2-4 Activated effector T cells can potentially then be recruited to the tumor.2-5

In addition, regulatory T cells maintain immune homeostasis by suppressing effector T-cell function.6 A hypothesized immunogenic activity of chemotherapy is that it may reduce regulatory T cells, thus allowing activated cytotoxic effector T cells to target tumor cells.6-8

It is hypothesized that the immunogenic effects of chemotherapy described above may prime the immune system to the activity of immuno-oncology agents.3,7

The Rationale for Investigating the Combination of Chemotherapy With Immuno-Oncology Agents

Chemotherapy may help to prime the immune system to target cancer by lysing tumor cells and inhibiting regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

The safety and efficacy of the agents and/or uses under investigation have not been established. There is no guarantee that the agents will receive health authority approval or become commercially available in any country for the uses being investigated.


  1. Hodge JW, et al. Semin Oncol. 2012;39:323-339.
  2. Chen DS, Mellman I. Immunity. 2013;39:1-10.
  3. Mellman I, et al. Nature. 2011;480:480-489.
  4. Tanaka H, et al. Cancer Res. 2009;69:6978-6986.
  5. Dieci MV, et al. Ann Oncol. 2014;25:611-618.
  6. Fridman WH, et al. Nat Rev Cancer. 2012;12:298-306.
  7. Li J-Y, et al. J Immunol Res. 2014;2014:286170.
  8. Ladoire S, et al. Clin Cancer Res. 2008;14:2413-2420.