Review

Cancer Immunoediting: Integrating Immunity’s Roles in Cancer Suppression and Promotion

Science  25 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6024, pp. 1565-1570
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203486

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Abstract

Understanding how the immune system affects cancer development and progression has been one of the most challenging questions in immunology. Research over the past two decades has helped explain why the answer to this question has evaded us for so long. We now appreciate that the immune system plays a dual role in cancer: It can not only suppress tumor growth by destroying cancer cells or inhibiting their outgrowth but also promote tumor progression either by selecting for tumor cells that are more fit to survive in an immunocompetent host or by establishing conditions within the tumor microenvironment that facilitate tumor outgrowth. Here, we discuss a unifying conceptual framework called “cancer immunoediting,” which integrates the immune system’s dual host-protective and tumor-promoting roles.

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