Immunoscore is a measure of the presence of activated immune cells within a tumour as defined by the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer . Immune checkpoint inhibitors are generally not effective against tumours with a low mutational burden and low (“cold”) immunoscores. By contrast tumours such as melanoma for which immune checkpoint inhibitors are highly effective have a high (“hot”) immunoscore.
Pancreatic cancer and other solid tumours have been described to have a “cold” immunoscore which correlates with the failure of immune checkpoint inhibitors to be effective . In addition a “cold” or actively immunosuppressive solid tumour microenvironment also inhibits the mechanism of action of the class of immunotherapeutics known as CAR-T which are effective for haematological cancers.
Understanding the molecular basis of the “cold” pancreatic cancer immunoscore and developing agents that can “heat-up” pancreatic cancer is essential in order to manufacture effective immunotherapeutic treatments for this disease.
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