Immunological Surveillance Against Tumor Cells

  • A. C. Allison
Part of the Cancer book series (C, volume 4)


Many tumor cells have antigens distinct from those of adult host cells, including virus-specific antigens, embryonic antigens, and others of unknown origin. These antigens can stimulate a variety of immune responses which are demonstrable by serological methods, rejection of tumor transplants in vivo, and cell-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro. One important question is the effectiveness of such immune responses in limiting tumor formation in normal humans and experimental animals. Ehrlich (1906), who anticipated many concepts of contemporary immunology, suggested that immunity might be directed not only against microbial and parasitic pathogens but also against malignant cells arising within the body. Such surveillance against malignant cells has been postulated more recently by Thomas (1959) and the concept has been elaborated by Burnet (1971) and others. Burnet suggests that immunity directed against autonomous cell variants may have arisen early in the evolution of multicellular organisms and may have been of importance comparable with that of protection against pathogenic organisms from outside the body.


Transplant Recipient Infectious Mononucleosis Organ Transplant Recipient Polyoma Virus Immunological Surveillance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. Allison
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Research CentreHarrow, MiddlesexEngland

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