More than 80% of all cancers arise from epithelial cells referred to as carcinomas. Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of carcinomas arising from the specialized epithelial cells that line the ducts of our major organs. Despite many advances in cancer therapies, metastatic and treatment-refractory cancers remain the 2nd leading cause of death. Immunotherapy has offered potential opportunities with specific targeting of tumor cells and inducing remission in many cancer patients. Numerous therapies using antibodies as antagonists or checkpoint inhibitors/immune modulators, peptide or cell vaccines, cytokines, and adoptive T cell therapies have been developed. The most innovative immunotherapy approach so far has been the use of engineered T cell, also referred to as chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T cells). CAR-T cells are genetically modified naïve T cells that express a chimeric molecule which comprises of the antigen-recognition domains (scFv) of an anti-tumor antibody and one, two, or three intracellular signaling domains of the T cell receptor (TCR). When these engineered T cells recognize and bind to the tumor antigen target via the scFv fragment, a signal is sent to the intracellular TCR domains of the CAR, leading to activation of the T cells to become cytolytic against the tumor cells. CAR-T cell therapy has shown tremendous success for certain hematopoietic malignancies, but this success has not been extrapolated to adenocarcinomas. This is due to multiple factors associated with adenocarcinoma that are different from hematopoietic tumors. Although many advances have been made in targeting multiple cancers by CAR-T cells, clinical trials have shown adverse effects and toxicity related to this treatment. New strategies are yet to be devised to manage side effects associated with CAR-T cell therapies. In this review, we report some of the promising immunotherapeutic strategies being developed for treatment of most common adenocarcinomas with particular emphasis on the future generation of CAR-T cell therapy.
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