Relevance of immune cell and tumor microenvironment imaging in the new era of immunotherapy

Filippo Galli, Jesus Vera Aguilera, Belinda Palermo, Svetomir N. Markovic, Paola Nisticò, Alberto Signore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Tumor-infiltrating immune cells play a key role against cancer. However, malignant cells are able to evade the immune response and establish a very complex balance in which different immune subtypes may drive tumor progression, metastatization and resistance to therapy. New immunotherapeutic approaches aim at restoring the natural balance and increase immune response against cancer by different mechanisms. The complexity of these interactions and the heterogeneity of immune cell subpopulations are a real challenge when trying to develop new immunotherapeutics and evaluate or predict their efficacy in vivo. To this purpose, molecular imaging can offer non-invasive diagnostic tools like radiopharmaceuticals, contrast agents or fluorescent dyes. These agents can be useful for preclinical and clinical purposes and can overcome [18F]FDG limitations in discriminating between true-progression and pseudo-progression. This review provides a comprehensive overview of immune cells involved in microenvironment, available immunotherapies and imaging agents to highlight the importance of new therapeutic biomarkers and their in vivo evaluation to improve the management of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number89
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 18 2020


  • immunotherapy
  • lymphocytes
  • molecular imaging
  • onco-immunology
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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