Tremendous advances have been made in cancer immunotherapy over the last decade. Among the different steps of gene expression, translation of mRNA is emerging as an essential player in both cancer and immunity. Changes in mRNA translation are both rapid and adaptive, and translational reprogramming is known to be necessary for sustaining cancer cell proliferation. However, the role of mRNA translation in shaping an immune microenvironment permissive to tumors has not been extensively studied. Recent studies on immunotherapy approaches have indicated critical roles of mRNA translation in regulating the expression of immune checkpoint proteins, tuning the secretion of inflammation-associated factors, modulating the differentiation of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, and promoting cancer resistance to immunotherapies. Careful consideration of the role of mRNA translation in the tumor-immune ecosystem could suggest more effective therapeutic strategies and may eventually change the current paradigm of cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss recent advances in understanding the relationship between mRNA translation and tumor-associated immunity, the potential mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance in cancers linked to translational reprogramming, and therapeutic perspectives and potential challenges of modulating translational regulation in cancer immunotherapy.

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