Research Topic

Cancer Immunotherapy and the Endocrine System: Focus on Metabolic and Hormonal Regulation of Tumor Immunity and Immunotherapies for Endocrine Cancers

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About this Research Topic

Immunotherapies have recently emerged as a real breakthrough in the therapeutic approach of certain cancer histotypes, providing lasting remissions and extended survival. These studies have highlighted the crucial role of the immune system in cancer progression and metastatic dissemination. However, only a subset of cancer patients obtains a clinical benefit with currently available immune checkpoint-based therapies, strongly suggesting the need to better clarify mechanisms linked with tumor immunoescape. Cancers are also often sensitive to a variety of hormones, at least at some stage of their development, and classical endocrine related cancers, such as breast and prostate cancers, are traditionally treated with endocrine based therapies. Moreover, insulin, the major regulator of glucose metabolism, has emerged as a major tumor regulator in the context of metabolic disorders associated with insulin resistance, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

There are several reasons supporting the need to better focus on the impact of hormones in tumor immunity regulation. For instance, in addition to their direct action on cancer cells, estrogens may have a role on tumor immunosuppression, and both obesity and diabetes are known to be able to alter the immune balance of tumor microenvironment. Anti-diabetic drugs, such as metformin, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes advocated in the treatment of metabolic disorders may also alter the delicate balance of tumor immunity. Furthermore, endocrine related cancers may also expose antigens specific to hormones and their cognate receptors that may be susceptible to immunotherapies. Overall, these studies lay the basis for future combination therapies based on endocrine and immune interventions.

Finally, therapies with immune check-point inhibitors may induce or favor autoimmune disorders of the endocrine system, such as thyroiditis, hypophysitis and type 1 diabetes mellitus.


In this Research Topic, we welcome review articles on a broad range of topics related to cancer immunotherapies and the endocrine system with special focus on metabolic and hormonal regulation of tumor immunity and immunotherapies for endocrine cancers.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
1. Hormonal regulation of tumor immunity
2. Metabolic disorders and alterations of tumor immunity
3. Immune effects of hormonal therapies
4. Immune effects of life style changes, dietetic regimens and of antidiabetic therapies
5. Immunotherapies for endocrine related cancers
8. Potential new anticancer treatments based on combination hormonal and immunotherapies
9. Endocrine and metabolic effects of cancer immunotherapies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Immunotherapies have recently emerged as a real breakthrough in the therapeutic approach of certain cancer histotypes, providing lasting remissions and extended survival. These studies have highlighted the crucial role of the immune system in cancer progression and metastatic dissemination. However, only a subset of cancer patients obtains a clinical benefit with currently available immune checkpoint-based therapies, strongly suggesting the need to better clarify mechanisms linked with tumor immunoescape. Cancers are also often sensitive to a variety of hormones, at least at some stage of their development, and classical endocrine related cancers, such as breast and prostate cancers, are traditionally treated with endocrine based therapies. Moreover, insulin, the major regulator of glucose metabolism, has emerged as a major tumor regulator in the context of metabolic disorders associated with insulin resistance, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

There are several reasons supporting the need to better focus on the impact of hormones in tumor immunity regulation. For instance, in addition to their direct action on cancer cells, estrogens may have a role on tumor immunosuppression, and both obesity and diabetes are known to be able to alter the immune balance of tumor microenvironment. Anti-diabetic drugs, such as metformin, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes advocated in the treatment of metabolic disorders may also alter the delicate balance of tumor immunity. Furthermore, endocrine related cancers may also expose antigens specific to hormones and their cognate receptors that may be susceptible to immunotherapies. Overall, these studies lay the basis for future combination therapies based on endocrine and immune interventions.

Finally, therapies with immune check-point inhibitors may induce or favor autoimmune disorders of the endocrine system, such as thyroiditis, hypophysitis and type 1 diabetes mellitus.


In this Research Topic, we welcome review articles on a broad range of topics related to cancer immunotherapies and the endocrine system with special focus on metabolic and hormonal regulation of tumor immunity and immunotherapies for endocrine cancers.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
1. Hormonal regulation of tumor immunity
2. Metabolic disorders and alterations of tumor immunity
3. Immune effects of hormonal therapies
4. Immune effects of life style changes, dietetic regimens and of antidiabetic therapies
5. Immunotherapies for endocrine related cancers
8. Potential new anticancer treatments based on combination hormonal and immunotherapies
9. Endocrine and metabolic effects of cancer immunotherapies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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