Combination strategies to maximize the benefits of cancer immunotherapy

Shaoming Zhu, Tian Zhang, Lei Zheng, Hongtao Liu, Wenru Song, Delong Liu, Zihai Li, Chong xian Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Immunotherapies such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) and adoptive cell therapy (ACT) have revolutionized cancer treatment, especially in patients whose disease was otherwise considered incurable. However, primary and secondary resistance to single agent immunotherapy often results in treatment failure, and only a minority of patients experience long-term benefits. This review article will discuss the relationship between cancer immune response and mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy. It will also provide a comprehensive review on the latest clinical status of combination therapies (e.g., immunotherapy with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy), and discuss combination therapies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It will provide an overview of therapies targeting cytokines and other soluble immunoregulatory factors, ACT, virotherapy, innate immune modifiers and cancer vaccines, as well as combination therapies that exploit alternative immune targets and other therapeutic modalities. Finally, this review will include the stimulating insights from the 2020 China Immuno-Oncology Workshop co-organized by the Chinese American Hematologist and Oncologist Network (CAHON), the China National Medical Product Administration (NMPA) and Tsinghua University School of Medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number156
JournalJournal of Hematology and Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • CAR-T
  • Cancer vaccine
  • Cytokine
  • Immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oncolytic virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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