A stressful microenvironment: Opposing effects of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response in the suppression and enhancement of adaptive tumor immunity

Matthew P. Rausch, Aparna Ranganathan Sertil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent clinical success of immunotherapy in the treatment of certain types of cancer has demonstrated the powerful ability of the immune system to control tumor growth, leading to significantly improved patient survival. However, despite these promising results current immunotherapeutic strategies are still limited and have not yet achieved broad acceptance outside the context of metastatic melanoma. The limitations of current immunotherapeutic approaches can be attributed in part to suppressive mechanisms present in the tumor microenvironment that hamper the generation of robust antitumor immune responses thus allowing tumor cells to escape immune-mediated destruction. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response has recently emerged as a potent regulator of tumor immunity. The ER stress response is an adaptive mechanism that allows tumor cells to survive in the harsh growth conditions inherent to the tumor milieu such as low oxygen (hypoxia), low pH and low levels of glucose. Activation of ER stress can also alter the cancer cell response to therapies. In addition, the ER stress response promotes tumor immune evasion by inducing the production of protumorigenic inflammatory cytokines and impairing tumor antigen presentation. However, the ER stress response can boost antitumor immunity in some situations by enhancing the processing and presentation of tumor antigens and by inducing the release of immunogenic factors from stressed tumor cells. Here, we discuss the dualistic role of the ER stress response in the modulation of tumor immunity and highlight how strategies to either induce or block ER stress can be employed to improve the clinical efficacy of tumor immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-122
Number of pages19
JournalInternational reviews of immunology
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015

Keywords

  • Adaptive immunity
  • Antigen processing
  • ER stress
  • Immune escape
  • Tumor immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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