Far beyond cancer immunotherapy: Reversion of multi-malignant phenotypes of immunotherapeutic-resistant cancer by targeting the nanog signaling axis

Se Jin Oh, Jaeyoon Lee, Yukang Kim, Kwon Ho Song, Eunho Cho, Minsung Kim, Heejae Jung, Tae Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cancer immunotherapy, in the form of vaccination, adoptive cellular transfer, or immune checkpoint inhibitors, has emerged as a promising practice within the field of oncology. However, despite the developing field's potential to revolutionize cancer treatment, the presence of immunotherapeutic-resistant tumor cells in many patients present a challenge and limitation to these immunotherapies. These cells not only indicate immunotherapeutic resistance, but also show multi-modal resistance to conventional therapies, abnormal metabolism, stemness, and metastasis. How can immunotherapeutic-resistant tumor cells render multi-malignant phenotypes? We reasoned that the immune-refractory phenotype could be associated with multi-malignant phenotypes and that these phenotypes are linked together by a factor that acts as the master regulator. In this review, we discussed the role of the embryonic transcription factor NANOG as a crucial master regulator we named “common factor” in multi-malignant phenotypes and presented strategies to overcome multi-malignancy in immunotherapeutic-resistant cancer by restraining the NANOG-mediated multi-malignant signaling axis. Strategies that blunt the NANOG axis could improve the clinical management of therapy-refractory cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere7
JournalImmune Network
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb


  • Common factor
  • Immunotherapy
  • Multi-malignant phenotypes
  • Therapy-refractory cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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