Anti-tumor immune response in ovarian cancer: clinical implications, prognostic significance and potential for novel treatment strategies

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Nikos G. Gavalas *
Meletios A. Dimopoulos
Aristotelis Bamias
(*) Corresponding Author:
Nikos G. Gavalas |


Ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death among women. Disease relapse occurs in a high number of cases and treatment currently involves the use of chemotherapy with the use of paclitaxel and platinum-based agents. Resistance to the disease occurs in more than 70% of the cases. The immune system is increasingly becoming a target for intense research in order to study the host’s immune response against ovarian cancer. T cell populations, including NK T cells and Tregs, have been associated with disease outcome indicating their increasing clinical significance, having been associated with positive prognosis and as markers of disease progress, respectively. Cytokines may also be associated with positive prognosis and they can have a direct or indirect effect in mobilizing relevant T cells, thus eliciting an immune response. Harnessing the immune system capacity in order to induce anti-tumor response is a major challenge. This is achieved via the use of antibodies that can elicit an immune response or via the use of direct administration of cytotoxic T cell populations (e.g., CD8?). This review examines the recent developments in our understanding of the mechanisms of development of the immune response in ovarian cancer as well as its prognostic significance and the existing experience in clinical studies using factors associated with immune response, such as monoclonal antibodies, cytokines, vaccines and activated or expanded relevant autologous populations from peripheral blood.

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