Xia Qiang, from the affiliated Renji Hospital, published new insights on tumor Immunology in the authoritative journal Nature Reviews Immunology

On May 8, a correspondence titled Immunosuppressive cell death in cancer written by Professor Xia Qiang, the director of the Hepatic Surgical Department in Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine affiliated Renji Hospital, was published online in the most authoritative international journal Nature Reviews Immunology (IF = 39.416), which boldly put forward several new views of tumor immunology, namely,that, the dead tumor cells might help tumor “come back”. The thesis emphasized that, in case of refractory tumors like hepatic tumors, it is beneficial to study further the way of tumor cell death and its influence on the immune system, and to consider the local, regional and systemic immune state of tumors, which is also helpful for clinical doctors toanalyze their dynamic constitute accurately, so as to choose accurate treatment and combined treatment more effectively to improve the patients‘ survival in the long term.

According to the first author of this paper, Dr. Hou Jiajie, a liver surgeon residency in Renji Hospital,it would be difficult to eliminate all tumor cells in the course of tumor development using current clinical treatment methods. On the one hand, it has something to do with the genetic and biological characteristics of tumor cells. On the other hand, the environment where the tumor cells depend on is also responsible. So, does the death of tumor cells mean the end of tumor biology? The answer seems obvious, but it is not the fact. The team’s study showed that incomplete cell necrosis in tumor lesions would reshape its immune microenvironment, allowing the remaining tumor cells to be able to “burn in the wild and be born in the spring breeze”.

When it comes to the theoretical basis of the paper, Hou Jiajie said, if the process of the human body against cancer is compared to that in a “siege ”, there will be two forces in the immune microenvironment: “the hawk” and “the doveish. ”The hawk“ are effector immune cells with anti-tumor activity, which play the role of immune surveillance, killing and so on; ”The doveish“ are immunosuppressive myeloid or lymphoid cells that can promote the progression of the tumor through destroying the immune system. In fact, these ”doveish“ cells are also nice ”public security“ in the early stages. Some of them are responsible for antigen-presenting, and some are in charge of immune surveillance, belonging to the ”united front“ of cancer fighting. When the fight reaches stalemate, some of the undetermined middle elements will compromise or defecte during the ”enemy“ attack and robbery. Confronted with immune attack or clinical treatment, necrotic tumor cells can release a variety of soluble factors to ”bribe“ and ”defect“ the centrist cells, thus forming a suitable ”politics“ state for tumor cell survival and expansion.

Professor Guido Kroemer, an academician of the French academy of sciences and the pioneer in cell death and immunity, spoke highly of this paper.Particularly, he noted that the outcome of the cell death in the treatment of the tumor was critical to the patient‘s long-term prognosis, which depended on the establishment of immune surveillance. Xia qiang’s team innovated the academic viewpoint of ”immunosuppressive cell death“ and called for precise treatment and combination therapy, which is of great significance to the field of tumor transformation.

According to Professor Xia Qiang,31 year-old Hou Jiajie once studied the basis and clinical strategy of tumor immunotherapy in the John Hopkins Hospital Cancer Center in the US, and has been devoted himself to translational research in immunology of liver cancer after returningChina and has won the national invention patent, and has also definedthe projects in Shanghai Municipal Education Commission the Morning Program and the National Natural Science Fund, etc. Currently,the series groups studying immunosuppression in hepatic cancers, led by Xia Jiang and Dr Hou Jiajie, has established the collaboration with liver tumor immunologist at home and abroad,whose work is expected to provide important theoretical basis and practical experience for the development and innovation of liver cancer immunotherapy.