The interplay of immunotherapy and chemotherapy: harnessing potential synergies

Leisha A Emens, Gary Middleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

316 Citations (Scopus)


Although cancer chemotherapy has historically been considered immune suppressive, it is now accepted that certain chemotherapies can augment tumor immunity. The recent success of immune checkpoint inhibitors has renewed interest in immunotherapies, and in combining them with chemotherapy to achieve additive or synergistic clinical activity. Two major ways that chemotherapy promotes tumor immunity are by inducing immunogenic cell death as part of its intended therapeutic effect and by disrupting strategies that tumors use to evade immune recognition. This second strategy, in particular, is dependent on the drug, its dose, and the schedule of chemotherapy administration in relation to antigen exposure or release. In this Cancer Immunology at the Crossroads article, we focus on cancer vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade as a forum for reviewing preclinical and clinical data demonstrating the interplay between immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-43
Number of pages8
JournalCancer immunology research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.


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