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Semin Cancer Biol. 2009 Apr;19(2):76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2008.10.011. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

The role of chemokines in cancer immune surveillance by the adaptive immune system.

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Division of Immunology and Allergy, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Rue du Bugnon 46, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Chemokines are key molecules involved in the migration and homeostasis of immune cells. However, also tumor cells use chemokine signals for different processes such as tumor progression and metastasis. It is thus unclear whether chemokines, through their immunostimulatory roles, contribute to the repression of tumor cells by tumor immunosurveillance or whether chemokines act primarily as growth factors and chemoattractants for primary and metastatizing tumors, respectively. Research of recent years, using gene knockout mice, recombinant chemokines, and agents able to block chemokine actions, has provided further insight into the diverse functions of chemokines. Here, we review the current knowledge on the complex actions of chemokines at the interface of the immune system and the tumor.

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