Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and its treatment is incredibly challenging. Researchers reveal how the immune response to tumor cells may be modified to improve survival rates.
Lung cancer accounts for around 14 percent of all new cancer diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that in 2018 there will be over 235,000 new cases of lung cancer and over 155,000 deaths because of it.
More people die of lung cancer every year than do from colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.
Only around 20 per cent of cases respond to immunotherapies making it one of the reasons for poor prognosis for lung cancer. This is considerably lower than other cancer.
Lung Cancer and Immunity
An effective immune response to a cancer depends on a large number of signaling molecules.
One primary component of the response is a transcription factor called Tbet.
This protein helps the production of other important cells that help the fight against tumor, including CD8 T cells and group 1 T helper cells (Th1 cells)
Importance of Treg
Although Treg helps to alleviate inflammation in the lungs, not much is known about its role in lung carcinoma. However, earlier researches believe that Treg cells promote tumor growth by reducing anti-tumor response in lung cells.
Researchers hope that lung cancer patient’s survival rates might be improved by interfering in this immune pathway.
They say that by treating patients by giving drugs that inhibit TGF alongside regular immunotherapy, there are chances that they could remove the Treg cell blockade that impedes the immune response to the swelling tumor.
The interactions of immune system with cancer are complex and these insights are new, so it will take some time before patients get to see the benefits of this new discovery.