Contribution of Aging, Obesity, and Microbiota on Tumor Immunotherapy Efficacy and Toxicity

Regina E. M. Baiden-Amissah, Sandra Tuyaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer immunotherapy has entered the forefront of cancer treatment, but major challenges still exist, such as the limited proportion of patients that respond to treatment and treatment-related toxicity. Therefore, biomarkers to predict which patients will benefit from therapy without major side effects are of the utmost importance. Moreover, novel therapeutic targets to increase the proportion of responding patients on a given immunotherapy or to alleviate immunotherapy-induced toxicity could be a valuable adjunct to immunotherapy treatment. Host factors such as age, obesity, and the composition of the gut microbiome have considerable effects on immune responses and, hence, could have a large impact on the outcome of immunotherapies. Moreover, since these host factors differ considerably between preclinical mouse models and human cancer patients, it might be possible that these host factors account, in part, for the observed discrepancies in outcomes between mice experiments and clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the latest data on the influence of aging, obesity, and the gut microbiome on the anti-tumor immune response and immunotherapy and propose avenues to increase our knowledge on this topic in order to improve patient selection for cancer immunotherapy treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3586
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019


  • cancer immunotherapy
  • aging
  • obesity
  • gut microbiome
  • biomarker

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