Harnessing nanomedicine to overcome the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment

Bo Sun, Hyesun Hyun, Lian tao Li, Andrew Z. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Cancer immunotherapy has received extensive attention due to its ability to activate the innate or adaptive immune systems of patients to combat tumors. Despite a few clinical successes, further endeavors are still needed to tackle unresolved issues, including limited response rates, development of resistance, and immune-related toxicities. Accumulating evidence has pinpointed the tumor microenvironment (TME) as one of the major obstacles in cancer immunotherapy due to its detrimental impacts on tumor-infiltrating immune cells. Nanomedicine has been battling with the TME in the past several decades, and the experience obtained could be exploited to improve current paradigms of immunotherapy. Here, we discuss the metabolic features of the TME and its influence on different types of immune cells. The recent progress in nanoenabled cancer immunotherapy has been summarized with a highlight on the modulation of immune cells, tumor stroma, cytokines and enzymes to reverse the immunosuppressive TME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-985
Number of pages16
JournalActa Pharmacologica Sinica
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer immunotherapy
  • cytokines
  • enzymes
  • immune cells
  • immunosuppression
  • nanomedicine
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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