Effective immunotherapy against cancer: a question of overcoming immune suppression and immune escape?

Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2004 Oct;53(10):879-92. doi: 10.1007/s00262-004-0577-x. Epub 2004 Jul 28.


During the last decade, the breakthroughs in understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for immune activation and the advent of recombinant DNA technologies have changed the view on immunotherapy from "a dream scenario" to becoming a clinical reality. It is now clear that both cellular immunity comprising T and NK cells, as well as strategies based on antibodies, can provide strong antitumoral effects, and evidence is emerging that these strategies may also cure patients with previously incurable cancers. However, there are still a number of issues that remain unresolved. Progress in immunotherapy against cancer requires a combination of new, improved clinical protocols and strategies for overcoming mechanisms of immune escape and tumor-induced immune suppression. This review discusses some of the salient issues that still need to be resolved, focusing on the role of oxidative stress and the use of antioxidants to alleviate the immune hyporesponsiveness induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigenic Variation
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Escape / immunology*
  • fas Receptor / physiology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antioxidants
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Free Radicals
  • fas Receptor