Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Oct 7, 2022; 28(37): 5403-5419
Published online Oct 7, 2022. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v28.i37.5403
Immunotherapy-based novel nanoparticles in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer: Trends and challenges
Yi-Nan Ding, Ming Xue, Qiu-Sha Tang, Li-Jun Wang, Hui-Yan Ding, Han Li, Cheng-Cheng Gao, Wei-Ping Yu
Yi-Nan Ding, Qiu-Sha Tang, Li-Jun Wang, Hui-Yan Ding, Department of Pathophysiology, College of Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing 210000, Jiangsu Province, China
Ming Xue, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Zhongda Hospital, School of Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing 210000, Jiangsu Province, China
Han Li, Department of Tuberculosis, The Second Hospital of Nanjing, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210000, Jiangsu Province, China
Cheng-Cheng Gao, Department of Radiology, Affiliated Hangzhou First People’s Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310000, Zhejiang Province, China
Wei-Ping Yu, Medical School, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, Jiangsu Province, China
Author contributions: Ding YN and Ding HY wrote the paper; Ding YN, Li H, Gao CC and Wang LJ carried out reference searching; Yu WP and Tang QS made review and final editing; and all authors have read and agree to the published version of the manuscript.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 82102303; and Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China, No. BK20210231.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Wei-Ping Yu, MD, PhD, Doctor, Professor, Medical School, Southeast University, No. 87 Dingjiaqiao, Nanjing 210009, Jiangsu Province, China.
Received: July 21, 2022
Peer-review started: July 21, 2022
First decision: August 19, 2022
Revised: August 27, 2022
Accepted: September 15, 2022
Article in press: September 15, 2022
Published online: October 7, 2022

Gastrointestinal cancer (GIC) is the most common cancer with a poor prognosis. Currently, surgery is the main treatment for GIC. However, the high rate of postoperative recurrence leads to a low five-year survival rate. In recent years, immunotherapy has received much attention. As the only immunotherapy drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) drugs have great potential in cancer therapy. Nevertheless, the efficacy of ICB treatment is greatly limited by the low immunogenicity and immunosuppressive microenvironment of GIC. Therefore, the targets of immunotherapy have expanded from ICB to increasing tumor immunogenicity, increasing the recruitment and maturation of immune cells and reducing the proportion of inhibitory immune cells, such as M2-like macrophages, regulatory T cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Moreover, with the development of nanotechnology, a variety of nanoparticles have been approved by the FDA for clinical therapy, so novel nanodrug delivery systems have become a research focus for anticancer therapy. In this review, we summarize recent advances in the application of immunotherapy-based nanoparticles in GICs, such as gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer, and described the existing challenges and future trends.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal cancer, Gastric cancer, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Colorectal cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Immunotherapy-based novel nanoparticles

Core Tip: Recently, immunotherapy has received substantial attention. Although there are several Food and Drug Administration-approved immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) drugs, the efficacy remains limited, and the response rate is less than 20%. Because gastrointestinal cancer (GIC) is a group of immunosuppressive cancers, the efficacy of ICB treatment is also limited. Therefore, enhancing the immunogenicity of GIC or reversing the immunosuppressive microenvironment of GIC have become potential approaches for GIC immunotherapy. There are many studies on nanoparticle-based cancer therapy. However, there are only a few studies on immunotherapy-based nanoparticles in GIC. Here, we summarize recent advances in the application of immunotherapy-based nanoparticles in GIC and present our thoughts about this topic.