Mesenchymal stromal cells can regulate the immune response in the tumor microenvironment.
- Tumor Immunotherapy and Microenvironment
The tumor microenvironment is a good target for therapy in solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Indeed, solid tumor cells' growth and expansion can influence neighboring cells' behavior, leading to a modulation of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) activities and remodeling of extracellular matrix components. This leads to an altered microenvironment, where reparative mechanisms, in the presence of sub-acute inflammation, are not able to reconstitute healthy tissue. Carcinoma cells can undergo epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key step to generate metastasis; these mesenchymal-like cells display the functional behavior of MSC. Furthermore, MSC can support the survival and growth of leukemic cells within bone marrow participating in the leukemic cell niche. Notably, MSC can inhibit the anti-tumor immune response through either carcinoma-associated fibroblasts or bone marrow stromal cells. Experimental data have indicated their relevance in regulating cytolytic effector lymphocytes of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system. Herein, we will discuss some of the evidence in hematological malignancies and solid tumors. In particular, we will focus our attention on the means by which it is conceivable to inhibit MSC-mediated immune suppression and trigger anti-tumor innate immunity.