Spatial biology enables the study of the contextual relationship between different cell types. In the immuno-oncology (IO) field, spatial biology is used to study immune cells and tumoral cells in their spatial context. Understanding immune cell phenotypes, functional activities, and spatial relationships inside or around the tumoral mass is emerging as a crucial factor of immune responsiveness and resistance in the IO field.
The tumor microenvironment (TME) consists of cellular and noncellular components. Cellular components include cancer cells, blood and lymphatic vessels, and immune cells. Non-cellular components include hypoxia, acidity, cytokines, and the extracellular matrix. Characterizing the TME can help classify tumors, aid in the understanding of tumorigenic pathways, and identify biomarkers that may ultimately lead to the development of reliable prognostic tools and targeted therapies.
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