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Mol Biotechnol. 2003 Sep;25(1):19-30.

The Fas/Fas ligand system and cancer: immune privilege and apoptosis.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The Fas/FasL system has been suggested to play an important role in the establishment of immune privilege status for tumors by inducing Fas-mediated apoptosis in tumor-specific lymphocytes. However, the role of cell-surface expressed FasL in tumor cell protection has recently become controversial. Our laboratory has focused on the study of the role of the Fas/FasL system in the normal tissue remodeling of the female reproductive tract and in immune-privileged organs. Our studies have demonstrated a connection between sex hormones and the regulation of the Fas/FasL pathway in immune and reproductive cells. More recently, we have investigated the resistance of tumor cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis. We have also characterized a new form of FasL, different from the classical membranal form, which is secreted by ovarian cancer cells. In this review we describe the main techniques used in these studies.

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