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Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Oncol. | doi: 10.3389/fonc.2018.00430

Multi-omics profiling of the tumor microenvironment: paving the way to precision immuno-oncology

  • 1Biocenter, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

The tumor microenvironment (TME) is a multifaceted ecosystem characterized by profound cellular heterogeneity, dynamicity, and complex intercellular cross-talk. The striking responses obtained with immune checkpoint blockers, i.e. antibodies targeting immune-cell regulators to boost antitumor immunity, have demonstrated the enormous potential of anticancer treatments that target TME components other than tumor cells. However, as checkpoint blockade is currently beneficial only to a limited fraction of patients, there is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms orchestrating the immune response in the TME to guide the rational design of more effective anticancer therapies.
In this Mini Review, we give an overview of the methodologies that allow studying the heterogeneity of the TME from multi-omics data generated from bulk samples, single cells, or images of tumor-tissue slides. These include approaches for the characterization of the different cell phenotypes and for the reconstruction of their spatial organization and inter-cellular cross-talk. We discuss how this broader vision of the cellular heterogeneity and plasticity of tumors, which is emerging thanks to these methodologies, offers the opportunity to rationally design precision immuno-oncology treatments. These developments are fundamental to overcome the current limitations of targeted agents and checkpoint blockers and to bring long-term clinical benefits to a larger fraction of cancer patients.

Keywords: Tumor-infiltrating immune cells, bioinformatics, Tumor Microenvironment, multi-omics profiling, Next-generation sequencing, cancer immunotherapy, Systems Biology, Systems Immunology, cancer immunology

Received: 11 Jul 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Andreas Pircher, Innsbruck Medical University, Austria

Reviewed by:

Ankush Sharma, Erasmus Medical Center, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Khyati Shah, University of California, San Francisco, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Finotello and Eduati. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Francesca Finotello, Biocenter, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, 6020, Tyrol, Austria, francesca.finotello@gmail.com