Gynecologic Oncology has changed in the last few decades. An increasing proportion of patients is benefiting from long term survival although patients diagnosed with advanced disease suffer from a poor prognosis. Unfortunately, several recent studies are confirming that changing the combinations of “traditional” cytotoxic drugs is unlikely to obtain a real breakthrough in survival rates. Furthermore, there is discouraging data regarding consolidation therapies. It is, therefore, necessary to identify new target therapies with a minimal impact on quality of life. It is likely that new breakthroughs are only going to be achieved when changes in therapies are tailored to the entire natural history of the disease and on specific patient characteristics. Since the discovery that tumor infiltrating lymphocytes represent an independent prognostic factor in ovarian cancer patients, several researchers have dedicated their attention to cancer immune response in order to identify prognostic factors and immunological targets. Analyses on immunophenotype at diagnosis and throughout the entire course of treatment are currently ongoing and are giving the new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools to the physicians. Furthermore new antigens and new vaccination strategies are being investigated. Encouraging data on selected patient populations have been observed recently. The objective of the present review is to define the immunology of women affected by gynecological malignancies and describe new immunological targets for prognostic and therapeutic use.
Keywords: Gynecological cancer, immune response, immune signatures, TAA, prognostic indicators
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