The immune response has important roles in the biology of solid tumors, including oncogenesis, tumor growth, invasion and metastasis, and response to treatment. Improved understanding of tumor-immune system interactions has provided promising therapeutic options that are based on the rescue and enhancement of the anti-tumoral host response. Immune-based treatments have been approved for clinical use in various types of cancer, including head and neck cancer (HNC); other strategies involving combination therapies are currently in development. These novel therapies were developed based on knowledge derived from in vitro, in silico, and in vivo pre-clinical studies. However, clinical trials seldom replicate the efficacy observed in pre-clinical animal studies. This lack of correlation between pre-clinical studies and clinical trials may be related to limitations of the models used; which highlights the relevance of considering immune-related aspects of different pre-clinical models. Murine models are the most frequently used pre-clinical models of HNC and are discussed elsewhere. Non-murine models have characteristics that offer unique opportunities for the study of HNC etiology, therapeutic strategies, and tumor-immune system interactions. The current review focuses on immune-related aspects of non-murine models, including dog, cat, pig, zebrafish, and frog, that could be used to investigate tumor-immune interactions in HNC.
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