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Adv Cancer Res. 2006;95:293-322.

Innate immune recognition and suppression of tumors.

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Cancer Immunology Program, Trescowthick Laboratories, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St. Andrews Place, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia.


In this chapter, we first summarized the strong evidence that now supports the existence of an effective cancer immune surveillance process that prevents cancer development in both mice and humans. We then focused the remainder of the chapter on methods of tumor recognition that contribute to natural host immune suppression of tumors. In particular, NKG2D is a type II transmembrane-anchored glycoprotein expressed as a disulfide-linked homodimer on the surface of all mouse and human natural killer cells (NK cells). Stimulation of NK cell through NKG2D triggers cell-mediated cytotoxicity and in some cases induces production of cytokines. NKG2D binds to family of ligands with structural homology to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, however, NKG2D ligands often display upregulated surface expression on stressed cells and are frequently overexpressed by tumors unlike conventional MHC class I molecules. Evidence clearly implicate that NKG2D recognition plays an important role in tumor immune surveillance.

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