Immunotherapy in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Innate, adaptive and targeted immunological strategies

Aung M. Tun, Stephen M. Ansell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Since the clinical introduction of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies into lymphoma treatment, immunologic approaches in lymphoma have made substantial progress. Advances in our understanding of tumor immunology have led to the development of strategies to overcome immunologic barriers responsible for an ineffective immune response. Specifically, therapeutic agents have been developed and tested against molecules that are responsible for T-cell exhaustion. The use of monoclonal antibodies against immune checkpoints in the adaptive immune system, such as programmed cell death-1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4, has changed the landscape of cancer therapy including the treatment of lymphoma. This achievement has recently been accompanied by the development of novel immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting the innate immune system, including the CD47-SIRPα signaling pathway, and this approach has yielded promising results. To overcome impaired antigen presentation, antibody-based cytotoxic strategies, namely antibody-drug conjugates (polatuzumab vedotin and brentuximab vedotin) and bispecific T-cell or NK-cell engagers (blinatumomab, REGN1979, RG6206, and AFM13), have rapidly evolved with promising clinical activity. As additional tools become available for lymphoma treatment, formulation of safe, rational combination strategies to combine them with standard therapy will be of paramount importance. A successful approach to the treatment of lymphoma may require both an optimized anti-tumor immune response as well as effective depletion of malignant lymphoid cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102042
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adaptive immune system
  • Anti-tumor immune response
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Immune-mediated cytotoxicity
  • Innate immune system
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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