The treatment against cancer is being flooded by targeted therapies. Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec©) was the first molecule to provide the proof of principle that targeting an aberrant tyrosine kinase responsible for the uncontrolled cell cycle progression allows for the eradication of tumors. The ideal targeted therapy should eliminate the molecular event responsible for the disease, an oncogenic product such as c-KIT, ABL/BCR and PDGFRα in the case of Gleevec©. Two issues related to this conceptual advance are raised in clinical practice. First, these therapies might target additional pathways generating side effects. Secondly, non tumoral cells bearing the molecular target might respond and induce additional biological outcomes. This review will summarize the by-stander immune modulations promoted by the paradigmatic compound Gleevec©, leading to unexpected new therapeutic indications.
Keywords: Gleevec©, immunity, T cells, NK cells, immunotherapy
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