Theranostics 2020; 10(7):3099-3117. doi:10.7150/thno.42998 This issue


Modulation of tumor microenvironment for immunotherapy: focus on nanomaterial-based strategies

Yun Liu1, Jianfeng Guo1,2✉, Leaf Huang1✉

1. Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, United States
2. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China

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Liu Y, Guo J, Huang L. Modulation of tumor microenvironment for immunotherapy: focus on nanomaterial-based strategies. Theranostics 2020; 10(7):3099-3117. doi:10.7150/thno.42998. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Recent advances in the field of immunotherapy have profoundly opened up the potential for improved cancer therapy and reduced side effects. However, the tumor microenvironment (TME) is highly immunosuppressive, therefore, clinical outcomes of currently available cancer immunotherapy are still poor. Recently, nanomaterial-based strategies have been developed to modulate the TME for robust immunotherapeutic responses. In this review, the immunoregulatory cell types (cells relating to the regulation of immune responses) inside the TME in terms of stimulatory and suppressive roles are described, and the technologies used to identify and quantify these cells are provided. In addition, recent examples of nanomaterial-based cancer immunotherapy are discussed, with particular emphasis on those designed to overcome barriers caused by the complexity and diversity of TME.

Keywords: tumor immunology, characterization and quantification of immunoregulatory cells, nanoparticles, drug delivery, combination therapy