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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2010 Feb;21(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2009.11.002. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Lymphocytes in cancer development: polarization towards pro-tumor immunity.

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Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States.


The classic view that the role of immune cells in cancer is primarily one of tumor rejection has been supplanted by a more complex view of leukocytes having both pro- and anti-tumor properties. This shift is due to the now well recognized capabilities of several myeloid cell types that foster pro-tumor programming of premalignant tissue, as well as the discovery that subsets of leukocytes also suppress development and effector functions of lymphocytes important for mediating anti-tumor immunity. In this review, we focus on the underappreciated role that T lymphocytes play in promoting tumor development. This includes, in addition to the role of T regulatory cells, a role for natural killer T cells and CD4(+) T helper cells in suppressing anti-tumor immunity and promoting cancer growth and metastasis.

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