Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Immunosurveillance of Tumors

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_2979-2

Definition

Tumor immunosurveillance is defined as an extrinsic tumor-suppressive mechanism whereby the immune system identifies and eliminates cancerous and/or precancerous cells.

Development of the Cancer Immunosurveillance Theory

The concept of cancer immunosurveillance was first proposed by Frank Macfarlane Burnet and Lewis Thomas in 1957 who speculated that lymphocytes acted as sentinels in recognizing and eliminating continuously arising, nascent-transformed cells before they manifested disease. However, this theory had been under a long-standing debate due to the absence of strong experimental data illustrating immunological eradication of cancerous lesions in vivo until late 1990s. Then, key findings from the first sets of experiments using mice with genetically defined mutations demonstrated that deficiencies in critical components of the immune system (effector molecules such as IFN-gamma and perforin; cellular compartments such as lymphocytes) increased the development of...

Keywords

Adaptive Immune System Common Variable Immunodeficiency NKG2D Ligand Tumor Immunosurveillance Dormant Tumor Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References

  1. Burnet FM (1957) Cancer – a biological approach: I. The processes of control. II. The significance of somatic mutation. Brit Med J 1(5022):841–847CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Dunn GP, Bruce AT, Ikeda H, Old LJ, Schreiber RD (2002) Cancer immunoediting: from immunosurveillance to tumor escape. Nat Immunol 3(11):991–998CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Swann JB, Smyth MJ (2007) Immune surveillance of tumors [Review]. J Clin Invest 117(5):1137–1146CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Schreiber RD, Old LJ, Smyth MJ (2011) Cancer immunoediting: integrating immunity's roles in cancer suppression and promotion. Science 331(6024):1565–1570CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The David H. Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer ResearchMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA