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Science 331 (6024): 1565-1570

Copyright © 2011 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Cancer Immunoediting: Integrating Immunity’s Roles in Cancer Suppression and Promotion

Robert D. Schreiber,1,* Lloyd J. Old,2 Mark J. Smyth3,4

Abstract: Understanding how the immune system affects cancer development and progression has been one of the most challenging questions in immunology. Research over the past two decades has helped explain why the answer to this question has evaded us for so long. We now appreciate that the immune system plays a dual role in cancer: It can not only suppress tumor growth by destroying cancer cells or inhibiting their outgrowth but also promote tumor progression either by selecting for tumor cells that are more fit to survive in an immunocompetent host or by establishing conditions within the tumor microenvironment that facilitate tumor outgrowth. Here, we discuss a unifying conceptual framework called "cancer immunoediting," which integrates the immune system’s dual host-protective and tumor-promoting roles.

1 Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
2 New York Branch of The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.
3 Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, 3002 Victoria, Australia.
4 Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010 Victoria, Australia.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: schreiber{at}immunology.wustl.edu


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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882