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Cancer immunoediting: from immunosurveillance to tumor escape

Nature Immunologyvolume 3pages991998 (2002) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The concept that the immune system can recognize and destroy nascent transformed cells was originally embodied in the cancer immunosurveillance hypothesis of Burnet and Thomas. This hypothesis was abandoned shortly afterwards because of the absence of strong experimental evidence supporting the concept. New data, however, clearly show the existence of cancer immunosurveillance and also indicate that it may function as a component of a more general process of cancer immunoediting. This process is responsible for both eliminating tumors and sculpting the immunogenic phenotypes of tumors that eventually form in immunocompetent hosts. In this review, we will summarize the historical and experimental basis of cancer immunoediting and discuss its dual roles in promoting host protection against cancer and facilitating tumor escape from immune destruction.

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Acknowledgements

Supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (CA43059 and CA76464 to R. D. S.), the Cancer Research Institute (to R. D. S., H.I and A.B.), the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (to R. D. S.), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (to R. D. S. and G. P. D.). We thank V. Shankaran, K. Sheehan, A. Dighe, D. Kaplan, R. Uppaluri, C. Koebel, J. Bui, E. Stockert, E. Richards, M. White, C. Arthur and C. Brendel for their important roles in developing the cancer immunoediting concept and for helpful comments during the preparation of this manuscript.

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  1. Department of Pathology and Immunology, Center for Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, 63110, MO, USA

    • Gavin P. Dunn
    • , Allen T. Bruce
    • , Hiroaki Ikeda
    •  & Robert D. Schreiber
  2. Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, New York Branch at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, 10021, NY, USA

    • Lloyd J. Old

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