The Sentinel


Thursday, July 21, 2022


 Hello JITC Readers,

pedro-romero%281%29%281%29_26717.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the JITC Digest. This month we are excited to spotlight our new Imaging and Immunotherapy review series, edited by Elisabeth GE de Vries and Lawrence H Schwartz. This timely review series features discussion on novel emerging imaging strategies, innovative approaches to the analysis of conventional modalities such as artificial intelligence and radiomics, and special considerations for radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and imaging. You can read the introductory editorial to the series as well as the first few reviews at the collection page on the JITC site. Check back throughout 2022 for more publications.

Our original research article highlight this month includes four exciting papers that make progress toward overcoming longstanding challenges in our field: eliciting systemic immune responses to local therapy and serum-based biomarkers for tumor response. 

Robert B Rebhun and colleagues report a clinical benefit rate of 39% with minimal systemic toxicity in a first-in-canine phase I clinical trial evaluating inhaled recombinant human IL-15 for the treatment of spontaneous melanoma or osteosarcoma in companion dogs. 

Regression of untreated lesions in murine melanoma models with local injection of a hydrogel carrying a lysate of the bacterial immunotherapy Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin is described by Mirela Kremenovic et al.

An almost 80% overall response rate to checkpoint blockade in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma identified as microsatellite instability-high through ctDNA analysis is observed in a retrospective analysis by Sakti Chakrabarti and colleagues. 

Michal Harel et al leverage machine learning and longitudinal plasma proteomic profiling to identify a signature based on age, sex, and on-treatment serum levels of CXCL18 and CXCL10 to predict benefit with anti-PD-1 in non-small cell lung cancer. 

If you’re looking for more reading material, this month’s selections from JITC’s archives include some of the top case reports and commentary/editorials over the years.

Best wishes,
Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


Hello JITC Readers,


June is always a special month for the journal and our field as we celebrate the 10th annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month™. It’s exciting to mark this month during a time when awareness about and optimism for immunotherapy are at an all-time high after the recent exciting presentation of a 100% clinical complete response rate in a small cohort of patients with mismatch repair deficient locally advanced rectal cancer. 

Of course, the results of such attention-grabbing small studies require extensive efforts from the basic, translational, and clinical research communities before they can become incorporated into the standard of care—and you, our JITC readers, have been instrumental all along the way in helping immunotherapy offer improved outcomes to patients with cancer. Be sure to investigate the offerings in this month’s special feature focused on the position articles and guidelines published in JITC for detailed examples of how the journal provides guidance to enhance decision-making in the immunotherapy field.

Position articles and guidelines are built upon basic and translational advances and the articles selected in this month’s highlight exemplify emerging areas within our field that may set the stage for the next practice-changing developments.

A pair of papers focused on tumor metabolism identify a potential biomarker for benefit and a potential target for drug development. Koichi Azuma et al describe a pre-treatment serum signature of soluble amino acids that predicts benefit with anti-PD-1 monotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer while Apple Hui Min Tay et al synthesize novel antagonists of adenosine metabolism that alleviate suppression of lymphocyte proliferation and effector function in patient-derived tumor spheroid models.

Two papers offer tangible steps toward addressing important unmet needs. Clinical evidence for activity of anti-PD-1 against cancer of unknown primary is reported by Kanwal P. Raghav et al and a novel and pharmacologically targetable tumor-cell intrinsic resistance mechanism to T cell-secreted tumor necrosis factor alpha is revealed by Antonio Sorrentino and colleagues.

I hope you will join us in celebrating Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ and continuing the excitement for the journal’s 10th anniversary year. If you are on social media, be sure to follow @jitcancer and @sitcancer for more exciting offerings throughout the month. 

Best wishes,

Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

Friday, May 27, 2022

Letter from the Editor - May

Hello JITC Readers,

pedro-romero_1__1_.jpgThis month’s JITC digest marks the beginning of the journal’s 10th anniversary year. Since our first issue was published in May of 2013, the journal and the immunotherapy field have evolved tremendously and we are excited to continue supporting the advancement of the immuno-oncology discipline for many years to come. 

We hope you will join us in celebrating a decade of JITC. Take a walk down memory lane with us by exploring the special features on our 10th anniversary page, including an editorial looking back on the journal’s storied history as well as an illuminating fireside chat between SITC President Dr. Patrick Hwu and JITC leadership on the journal’s trajectory. 

Throughout the past 10 years, JITC has published innovative research from across the immunotherapy field. This month, the papers highlighted in the digest emphasize how even such a familiar topic as PD-1 blockade still yields novel insights with clinical and translational data on novel combination strategies, biomarkers, and response dynamics. 

Acceptable safety with response rates of around 35% are reported by Charu Aggarwal et al in a phase I/II trial evaluating the combination of anti-PD-1 and anti-B7-H3 in checkpoint inhibitor-naïve head and neck and non-small cell lung cancers.  

Yongxiang Xia and colleagues describe efficacy and safety for perioperative anti-PD-1 plus anti-VEGF TKI for hepatocellular carcinoma as well as ctDNA-based biomarkers for predicting response and recurrence risk with the combination.  

An inverse association between somatic copy number alteration burden, immune cell infiltration, and progression-free survival in non-small cell lung cancer is revealed by Joan Frigola and colleagues.  

Finally, Yoon-Koo Kang et al find no evidence for hyperprogression in patients with gastric cancer or small-cell lung cancer treated with checkpoint blockade in the first analysis of the phenomenon using data from randomized controlled trials.  

No matter whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or have just recently discovered JITC, we’re grateful for all our readers and we’re excited for what the future has in store for the journal and our field. 


Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer

Friday, April 15, 2022

Letter from the Editor - April

Hello JITC Readers,


In the northern hemisphere, spring is in the air and conference season is just beginning. Many of you stopped by to say hello to Deputy Editor-in-Chief at the SITC booth during the AACR annual meeting earlier this month. It is wonderful to see colleagues as we cautiously return to more frequent travel and in-person meetings.

If you are unable to take advantage of a face-to-face meeting, however, JITC is pleased to offer you a series of video resources featuring our editors answering commonly-asked questions about the types of content the journal seeks as well as how and where to submit your manuscript. You can find all the videos on JITC’s YouTube playlist.

This month’s highlights include three original research articles and one short report.

Kristin G Anderson and colleagues report an innovative engineering approach to subvert activation-induced cell death signaling in the tumor microenvironment in order to enhance proliferation and survival of chimeric antigen receptor T cells.

A radiomic biomarker based on pre-treatment CT images developed by Khalid Jalzieh et al predicted survival outcomes with chemoradiotherapy followed by consolidation durvalumab for unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer.

Peng Li and colleagues describe epigenetic regulation of T cell exhaustion markers mediated by signaling through the vitamin D receptor, with accompanying clinical trial data from patients with non-small cell lung cancer receiving calcitriol supplementation along with docetaxel.

Mechanistic rationale for transient MEK inhibition to alleviate immunosuppression in the head and neck cancer tumor microenvironment prior to anti-PD-1 therapy is described by Manu Prasad et al.

If you are looking to further your reading this month, you can also peruse popular articles from the past years in the archive feature in this edition of the digest.



Pedro J. Romero, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer