The concept of immune surveillance against tumors: The first theories
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1 Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sensory Organs, University of Bari Medical School, Bari, Italy
2 National Cancer Institute “Giovanni Paolo II”, Bari, Italy
Domenico Ribatti, email:
Keywords: Antigen; immune surveillance; history of medicine; T cell; tumor
Received: July 18, 2016 Accepted: October 10, 2016 Published: October 18, 2016
The immune system plays a major role in the surveillance against tumors. To avoid attack from the immune system, tumor cells develop different strategies to escape immune surveillance. Evidence of immune surveillance comes from both animal models and clinical observations. Mice with a wide variety of immunodeficiencies have a high rate of tumor incidence and are more susceptible to transplanted or chemical carcinogen-induced tumors. Immunosuppressed patients have a high incidence of tumors. However, many patients develop cancer even in the presence of an apparently normal immune system. This indicates that tumor cells are able to escape immune surveillance. The aim of this review article is to summarize the literature concerning the development of the theory of immune surveillance against tumors; to discuss the evidence for and against this theory, and to discuss the concept of immunoediting. Finally, the current approaches in anti-tumor immunotherapy will be analyzed.
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