Research Topic

Genomics and Epigenomics of Cancer Immunotherapy: Challenges and Clinical Implications

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Cancer immunotherapy aims to activate, boost or normalize the immune system to attack cancer cells through natural mechanisms. The advent of immunotherapy is revolutionizing the treatment of many malignancies, especially hematological malignancies.

However, there remain many hurdles to overcome for ...

Cancer immunotherapy aims to activate, boost or normalize the immune system to attack cancer cells through natural mechanisms. The advent of immunotherapy is revolutionizing the treatment of many malignancies, especially hematological malignancies.

However, there remain many hurdles to overcome for cancer immunotherapy to benefit the majority of patients. One of the main obstacles is how to alter the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment so that immunotherapeutics can take effect. CD8+T cells are the main effector cells in anti-cancer immunity. However, the functionalities of CD8+T cells are often suppressed by the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, which is called T cell dysfunction. Dysfunctional T cells may display a reprogrammed epigenome such as aberrant DNA methylation. Moreover, the aberrant epigenomes of cancer cells and infiltrating immune cells may represent a cancer vulnerability. Increasing evidence supports the possibility of using genetic and/or epigenetic therapies to increase anti-tumor immunogenicity, increase tumor immune-infiltration, and to re-activate T cells.
To investigate the genomic/epigenomic mechanisms that regulate CD8+ T cell differentiation and function may help to develop ways to delay or reverse T cell dysfunction, and thus to increase cancer immunotherapy efficacies. Besides T cells, macrophages, natural killer cells and dendritic cells as also participants and/or regulators in cancer immunotherapy. To explore the underlying epigenetic/genetic regulations of their functions will be of vital importance for the development of future cancer immunotherapies.

Cancer immunotherapy will remain the hotspot in the years to come. This special issue aims at publishing high-quality original research as well as review articles on genomic/epigenomic aspects of cancer immunotherapy.

Potential topics of interest include but are not limited to:
1. Explore the genetic/epigenetic regimens to increase anti-tumor immunogenicity, increase tumor immune-infiltration, and/or to re-activate anti-tumor immune cells.
2. Explore the mechanisms underlying functional genomics in T cell dysfunction and ways to delay/reverse it.
3. Development of pre-clinical models that facilitate the research of the genomics of human immunity.
4. Genetic/epigenetic explorations of cancer immunity that may translate to biomarkers for therapeutic efficacy monitoring and prognosis evaluation.
5. Elucidate the genetic basis for cancer immunotherapy combinations that may translate to the optimization of the latter


Keywords: Antitumor immunogenicity, Personalized biomarkers, Immunotherapy combinations, Preclinical models, Immune cell dysfunction


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