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J Transl Med. 2005 Feb 8;3(1):8.

Revisiting immunosurveillance and immunostimulation: Implications for cancer immunotherapy.

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1
Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. christine.ichim@swri.ca.

Abstract

Experimental and clinical experience demonstrates that the resolution of a pathogenic challenge depends not only on the presence or absence of an immune reaction, but also on the initiation of the proper type of immune reaction. The initiation of a non-protective type of immune reaction will not only result in a lack of protection, but may also exacerbate the underlying condition. For example, in cancer, constituents of the immune system have been shown to augment tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastases. This review discusses the duality of the role of the immune system in cancer, from the theories of immunosurveillance and immunostimulation to current studies, which illustrate that the immune system has both a protective role and a tumor-promoting role in neoplasia. The potential of using chemotherapy to inhibit a tumor-promoting immune reaction is also discussed.

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