Dr. Topalian on the Immunosuppressive Tumor Microenvironment of Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Suzanne L. Topalian, MD
Published: Thursday, Jun 28, 2018



Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, director, Melanoma Program, professor of Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses the immunosuppressive microenvironment of nasopharyngeal cancer.

In an effort to find new combinations of immunotherapy for patients with nasopharyngeal cancer, investigators from Johns Hopkins Medicine analyzed the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Topalian, a cancer immunologist, says that in order to do these sophisticated analyses of the microenvironment, multiple specialists need to work together. With the help of a pathologist, Topalian and her group of investigators were able to evaluate this area.

Topalian says that they found very robust expression of PD-L1, as well as PD-1, on the infiltrating T cells in the majority of nasopharyngeal cancer cases that were evaluated. Beyond that, LAG-3, IDO, and COX-2, were all identified in the microenvironment of these patients’ tumors. Topalian says that all these molecules can be targeted with drugs that are currently available in the clinic.


Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, director, Melanoma Program, professor of Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses the immunosuppressive microenvironment of nasopharyngeal cancer.

In an effort to find new combinations of immunotherapy for patients with nasopharyngeal cancer, investigators from Johns Hopkins Medicine analyzed the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Topalian, a cancer immunologist, says that in order to do these sophisticated analyses of the microenvironment, multiple specialists need to work together. With the help of a pathologist, Topalian and her group of investigators were able to evaluate this area.

Topalian says that they found very robust expression of PD-L1, as well as PD-1, on the infiltrating T cells in the majority of nasopharyngeal cancer cases that were evaluated. Beyond that, LAG-3, IDO, and COX-2, were all identified in the microenvironment of these patients’ tumors. Topalian says that all these molecules can be targeted with drugs that are currently available in the clinic.



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Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Medical Crossfire®: How Can We Optimize Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancers with Immunotherapeutic Strategies?Oct 31, 20191.5
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