Review Article

Nanosized drug delivery systems modulate the immunosuppressive microenvironment to improve cancer immunotherapy

Wen-lu Yan1,2, Tian-qun Lang1,3, Wen-hui Yuan1,2, Qi Yin1,2,3, Ya-ping Li1,2,4,5
1 State Key Laboratory of Drug Research & Center of Pharmaceutics, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 501 Haike Road, Shanghai 201203, China
2 School of Pharmacy, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 Yantai Key Laboratory of Nanomedicine & Advanced Preparations, Yantai Institute of Materia Medica, Yantai 264000, China
4 Shandong Laboratory of Yantai Drug Discovery, Bohai Rim Advanced Research Institute for Drug Discovery, Yantai 264117, China
5 School of Pharmacy, Yantai University, Yantai 264005, China
Correspondence to: Qi Yin:, Ya-ping Li:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-00976-6
Received: 31 May 2022
Accepted: 4 August 2022
Advance online: 1 September 2022


Immunotherapy that activates immune systems for combating cancer has yielded considerable clinical benefits recently. However, the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (ITME) is a major hurdle to immunotherapy as it supports tumor to evade immune surveillance. Reversing ITME facilitates the recruitment and activation of antitumor immune cells, thereby promoting immunotherapy. Our group has developed various nanosized drug delivery systems (NDDSs) to modulate ITME with enhanced efficacy and safety. In the review we introduce the ITME-remodeling strategies for improving immunotherapy based on NDDSs including triggering tumor cells to undergo immunogenetic cell death (ICD), applying tumor vaccine, and directly regulating intratumoral immune components (immune cells or cytokines). In order to guide the design of NDDSs for amplified effects of antitumor immunotherapy, the contributions and future directions of this field are also discussed.
Keywords: immunotherapy; nanosized drug delivery systems (NDDSs); immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (ITME); immunogenetic cell death (ICD); tumor vaccine

Article Options

Download Citation

Cited times in Scopus