PerspectiveCANCER

Immune Surveillance from Chromosomal Chaos?

Science  28 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6102, pp. 1616-1617
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228464

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Summary

In 1970, the cancer immune surveillance hypothesis proposed that “when aberrant cells with proliferative potential arise in the body, they will carry new antigenic determinants on their surface. When a significant amount of new antigen has developed, a thymus-dependent immunological response will be initiated and eventually eliminates the aberrant cells” (1). This idea stirred much debate, and it remains unclear whether T cells spontaneously reject tumors or select variants of low immunogenicity. Still, the hypothesis is being revisited and revised with new insights into the dynamics of cancer cell immunogenicity in the context of tolerance and other elements of the antitumor immune response (2). Adding to this, Senovilla et al. (3) report, on page 1678 of this issue, that there is a connection between abnormal chromosome number and the immune surveillance of such aberrant cancer cells.