Harnessing the immune system to treat cancer

J Clin Invest. 2007 May;117(5):1130-6. doi: 10.1172/JCI32136.


A major challenge for the immune system is to recognize and eliminate cells undergoing carcinogenesis. Immune defense against tumors is complex. It can be mediated early by the innate immune system (i.e., phagocytes, NK cells, NKT cells, cytokines, and complement proteins) and later by the adaptive immune system (i.e., B cells and T cells). The eight articles in this Review series on tumor immunology discuss the mechanisms underlying immune surveillance of tumors, the regulation of carcinogenesis by immune inflammatory mediators, current approaches to controlling tumor growth through immunotherapy, and novel targets of immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / therapy*