Tumor Immune Evasion

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Science  07 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5979, pp. 697-698
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190310

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Many types of human tumors can suppress the immune system to enhance their survival. Some tumor cells escape immune detection by decreasing the expression of certain antigen-presenting proteins at their surface, rendering them invisible to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (1). But more often, tumors secrete proteins that inhibit effector T cell responses and promote the production of regulatory T cells that suppress immune responses (2). On page 749 of this issue, Shields et al. (3) identify another mechanism by which tumors deceive the immune system. Certain melanomas can reorganize their stromal microenvironment (the supportive connective tissue) into structures similar to lymphoid tissue of the immune system. This ingenious reconstruction recruits and maintains immune regulatory cells that promote tolerance and tumor progression.