, Volume 61, Issue 8, pp 1327-1341
Date: 14 Jun 2012

The expression, function, and clinical relevance of B7 family members in cancer

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The modulation and suppression of anti-tumor immune responses is a characteristic feature of tumor cells to escape immune surveillance. Members of the B7 family are involved in this process, since the level of activation of the anti-tumor immune response depends on the balance between co-stimulatory and co-inhibitory signals. Some molecules are often overexpressed in tumors, which has been associated with the pathogenesis and progression of malignancies as well as their immunological and non-immunological functions. The B7 homologs play a key role in the maintenance of self-tolerance and the regulation of both innate and adaptive immunity in tumor-bearing hosts. Furthermore, the blockade of negative signals mediated by the interaction of co-inhibitory ligands and counter-receptors of the B7 family is currently being studied as a potential immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer in humans.

This paper is a Focussed Research Review based on a presentation given at the Eleventh International Conference on Progress in Vaccination against Cancer (PIVAC 11), held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 10–13 October 2011. It is part of a CII series of Focussed Research Reviews and meeting report.