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Semin Cancer Biol. 2002 Feb;12(1):25-31.

Immunodominance and tumor escape.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Cancers in mouse and man express multiple tumor-specific as well as tumor-associated antigens. Immunodominance in the host response to these antigens can result in successive selection of heritable antigen loss variants. Immunodominance may also prevent the development of responses to new tumor-specific antigens that may arise during tumor progression. Some tumor-specific antigens are retained during tumor progression possibly because they are essential for survival of the malignant phenotype. Immunodominance may allow cancer cells to escape even after loss of a single MHC Class I allele because cross-presentation of the retained antigen by this allele that must be expressed on the surrounding antigen presenting cells sustains the immunodominant response. This prevents effective responses to secondary antigens that may remain as potential targets. Immunization with in vitro selected cancer cell variants that lack the immunodominant antigen can break the immunodominance and prevent escape of cancers from host immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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