Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 53, Issue 10, pp 879–892 | Cite as

Effective immunotherapy against cancer

A question of overcoming immune suppression and immune escape?
  • Karl-Johan Malmberg


During the last decade, the breakthroughs in understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for immune activation and the advent of recombinant DNA technologies have changed the view on immunotherapy from “a dream scenario” to becoming a clinical reality. It is now clear that both cellular immunity comprising T and NK cells, as well as strategies based on antibodies, can provide strong antitumoral effects, and evidence is emerging that these strategies may also cure patients with previously incurable cancers. However, there are still a number of issues that remain unresolved. Progress in immunotherapy against cancer requires a combination of new, improved clinical protocols and strategies for overcoming mechanisms of immune escape and tumor-induced immune suppression. This review discusses some of the salient issues that still need to be resolved, focusing on the role of oxidative stress and the use of antioxidants to alleviate the immune hyporesponsiveness induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS).


Immune escape Immune suppression Immunotherapy Oxidative stress 



Human leukocyte antigen


Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor


Natural killer cell receptor


Reactive oxygen species


Tumor-associated antigen



This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Society for Medical Research and the Swedish Cancer Society.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Infectious Medicine (CIM), F59, Department of Medicine, Karolinska InstitutetKarolinska University Hospital HuddingeStockholmSweden

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