TR Flint, JO Jones, M Ferrer, F Colucci, T Janowitz
Despite their abilities to elicit immune responses, both syngeneic tumors and the half-mismatched placenta grow in the host, unlike a tissue allograft that is aggressively rejected. This is because of local and systemic factors that contribute to the immunologic privilege of tumors and the placenta. Checkpoint blockade immunotherapies subvert this privilege, with spectacularly beneficial outcomes in subsets of patients with certain types of cancer. A challenge for the community of scientists and clinicians is to replicate these successes in pregnant patients with cancer, without harm to the placenta. Here we compare and contrast the immunology of cancers and the placenta, and suggest that immunotherapy for pregnant patients with cancer may be a reasonable option, but that this should be explored systematically.