Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses to Cancer

  • Matthew P. Rausch
  • Karen Taraszka HastingsEmail author


Together, innate and adaptive immune responses are capable of recognizing and destroying cancer. Under selective pressure from the immune response, tumors evolve to escape immune-mediated destruction. Natural killer cells and gamma-delta T cells recognize and kill tumor cells. Cancer patients generate CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, which are found to be infiltrating tumors and in the peripheral blood. Brisk tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in primary melanoma portend a survival advantage. Furthermore, the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes is associated with improved clinical responses to certain types of immunotherapy. The success of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of a broad range of cancers underscores the critical role of T cells in cancer destruction. The importance of the immune system in preventing cancer is reflected in the increased frequency of malignancies in immunosuppressed and immunodeficient patients. Furthermore, vaccination against human papillomavirus and hepatitis B virus protects against the development of cancers associated with these viruses.


Natural killer cell Dendritic cell Macrophage Myeloid-derived suppressor cell Tumor antigen Cytokines T lymphocyte B lymphocyte Human papillomavirus Hepatitis B virus Immune checkpoint Cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Surface Oncology Inc.CambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine PhoenixUniversity of ArizonaPhoenixUSA

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