Since the late 19th century, the immune system has been known to play a role in cancer risk, initiation, and progression. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of genetic risk loci for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, yet the connection between human genetic variation and immune-mediated response to cancer treatments remains less well-explored. Understanding inherited genetic variation, with respect to germline genetic polymorphisms that affect immune system pathways, could lead to greater insights about how these processes may best be harnessed to successfully treat cancer. Our goal in this manuscript was to understand progress and challenges in assessing the role of inherited genetic variation in response to cancer treatments. Overall, the 39 studies reviewed here suggest that germline genetic variation in immune system–related genes may potentially affect responses to cancer treatments. Although further research is needed, considering information on germline immune genetic variation may help, in some cases, to optimize cancer treatment.

You do not currently have access to this content.