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Adv Immunol. 2014;122:91-128. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800267-4.00003-1.

Recognition of tumors by the innate immune system and natural killer cells.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
2
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Electronic address: raulet@berkeley.edu.

Abstract

In recent years, roles of the immune system in immune surveillance of cancer have been explored using a variety of approaches. The roles of the adaptive immune system have been a major emphasis, but increasing evidence supports a role for innate immune effector cells such as natural killer (NK) cells in tumor surveillance. Here, we discuss some of the evidence for roles in tumor surveillance of innate immune cells. In particular, we focus on NK cells and other immune cells that express germline-encoded receptors, often labeled NK receptors. The impact of these receptors and the cells that express them on tumor suppression is summarized. We discuss in detail some of the pathways and events in tumor cells that induce or upregulate cell-surface expression of the ligands for these receptors, and the logic of how those pathways serve to identify malignant, or potentially malignant cells. How tumors often evade tumor suppression mediated by innate killer cells is another major subject of the review. We end with a discussion on some of the implications of the various findings with respect to possible therapeutic approaches.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; DNA-damage response; DNAM-1; Immunoediting; Innate immunity; NKG2D; Proliferation; Senescence; Tumor immunosurveillance

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