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J Clin Oncol. 2010 Oct 10;28(29):4531-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.27.2146. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Immune regulation of cancer.

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Center for Translational Medicine in Women's Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Innate and adaptive immune system cells play a major role in regulating the growth of cancer. Although it is commonly thought that an immune response localized to the tumor will inhibit cancer growth, it is clear that some types of inflammation induced in a tumor may also lead to cancer proliferation, invasion, and dissemination. Recent evidence suggests, however, that some patients with cancer can mount an antitumor immune response that has the potential to control or eliminate cancer. Indeed, a so-called "immune response" signature has been described in malignancy that is associated with improved outcomes in several tumor types. Moreover, the presence of specific subsets of T cells, which have the capability to penetrate tumor stroma and infiltrate deep into the parenchyma, identifies patients with an improved prognosis. Immune-based therapies have the potential to modulate the tumor microenvironment by eliciting immune system cells that will initiate acute inflammation that leads to tissue destruction.

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