Send to

Choose Destination
Oncologist. 2008 Dec;13(12):1246-54. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2008-0166. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Cancer and immune response: old and new evidence for future challenges.

Author information

Medical Oncology Department, Virgen de la Macarena University Hospital, Seville, Spain.


Cancer may occur as a result of abnormal host immune system tolerance. Recent studies have confirmed the occurrence of spontaneous and induced antitumor immune responses expressed as the presence of tumor-infiltrating T cells in the tumor microenvironment in some cancer models. This finding has been recognized as a good prognostic factor in several types of tumors. Some chemotherapy agents, such as anthracyclines and gemcitabine, are effective boosters of the immune response through tumor-specific antigen overexpression after apoptotic tumor cell destruction. Other strategies, such as GM-CSF or interleukin-2, are pursued to increase immune cell availability in the tumor vicinity, and thus improve both antigen presentation and T-cell activation and proliferation. In addition, cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4-blocking monoclonal antibodies enhance immune activity by prolonging T-cell activation. Strategies to stimulate the dormant immune system against tumors are varied and warrant further investigation of their applications to cancer therapy in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center