In oncology, masitinib is being developed in combination with chemotherapies for treatment of malignancies via its immunotherapeutic properties. There is a growing body of scientific knowledge regarding the role of mast cells and macrophages in tumor progression of various cancers. Throughout the process of tumorigenesis, disease progression, and metastasis, the microenvironment of the local host tissue is an active participant and determines the extent of cancer cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and survival.
There is evidence that increased mast cell activity within the tumor microenvironment can promote disease progression via release of numerous pro-tumoral mediators, down-regulate the immune response to tumors, and modulation of macrophages towards a pro-tumoral state.
Masitinib’s highly selective inhibition of mast cell activation is expected to be of therapeutic benefit by impacting on mast cell related remodeling of the tumor microenvironment.