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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Roles of the immune system in cancer: from tumor initiation to metastatic progression.

  • Author(s): Gonzalez, Hugo
  • Hagerling, Catharina
  • Werb, Zena
  • et al.

The presence of inflammatory immune cells in human tumors raises a fundamental question in oncology: How do cancer cells avoid the destruction by immune attack? In principle, tumor development can be controlled by cytotoxic innate and adaptive immune cells; however, as the tumor develops from neoplastic tissue to clinically detectable tumors, cancer cells evolve different mechanisms that mimic peripheral immune tolerance in order to avoid tumoricidal attack. Here, we provide an update of recent accomplishments, unifying concepts, and future challenges to study tumor-associated immune cells, with an emphasis on metastatic carcinomas.

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