The Tumor Microenvironment as a Model for Tissue-Specific Rejection

  • Silvia Selleri
  • Sara Deola
  • Cristiano Rumio
  • Francesco M. Marincola
Part of the The Tumor Microenvironment book series (TTME, volume 1)

Since the discovery in cancer patients of tumor infiltrating and circulating lymphocytes that can recognize and kill autologous cancer cells, research have been perplexed by the paradoxical coexistence in the same organism of effector immune responses and their targets. This observation suggests that while the afferent arm of the immune response can properly exert its cognitive functions, the efferent arm displays insufficient effector activity.

Two main categories of explanations may be hypothesized: either the immune system of cancer patients is systemically hampered by cancer-specific immune tolerance or a general status of immune suppression, or the cross talk between tumor and immune cells is modulated by adaptive changes of tumor cells that may escape recognition by masking or loosing the target antigens, by providing insufficient costimulation for T cell activation or producing immune-modulatory factors.

In this chapter, we will present and discuss the present understanding of the relationship between immune and cancer cells in the context of the tumor microenvironment. Far from presenting a comprehensive explanation, our goal is to offer an update of the current status and foster interest in the pursue of studies directed at the ex vivo analysis of human samples that may spark the identification of novel hypotheses in the frame of human reality.


Tumor microenvironment inflammation immune rejection 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Selleri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sara Deola
    • 1
  • Cristiano Rumio
    • 2
  • Francesco M. Marincola
    • 1
  1. 1.Immunogenetics Section, Department of Transfusion Medicine, Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human MorphologyUniversita' degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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