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Open Virol J. 2011;5:60-9. doi: 10.2174/1874357901105010060. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Cytomegalovirus and tumors: two players for one goal-immune escape.

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  • 1Department of Virology, University of Franche-Comte, UPRES EA 4266, IFR 133, CHU Besancon, F-25030 Besanon, France.


CYTOMEGALOVIRUS (CMV) AND THE HUMAN TUMOR CELL SHARE THE SAME OBJECTIVES: escape the recognition and destruction by the immune system and establish a state of immune tolerance conducive for their development. For early tumor development, the escape of the first lines of defense of the immune surveillance is a critical step which determines survival or destruction. The presence of CMV on the tumor site and its involvement in carcinogenesis as initiator or promoter is increasingly documented. In this article, we highlight the similarity between mechanisms used by tumors and CMV to circumvent the immune defenses and evade from immune surveillance. We suggest that CMV and tumors help one another for their common objective. CMV gets shelter in immunologically poor environment of the tumor cells. In return CMV, by acting directly on the cancer cell and/or on the tumor microenvironment, provides the tumor cell the ways to promote its immune escape and development of immune tolerance.


HCMV; immune escape.; tumor

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