T-cell death and cancer immune tolerance

Cell Death Differ. 2008 Jan;15(1):70-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4402274. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


Cancer patients mount adaptive immune responses against their tumors. However, tumor develops many mechanisms to evade effective immunosurveillance. T-cell death caused by tumor plays a critical role in establishing tumor immunotolerance. Chronic stimulation of T cells by tumors leads to activation-induced cell death. Abortive stimulation of T cells by tolerogenic antigen-presenting cells loaded with tumor antigens leads to autonomous death of tumor-specific T cells. Therapeutic approaches that prevent T-cell death in the tumor microenvironment and tumor draining lymph nodes, therefore, should boost adaptive immune responses against cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Apoptosis*
  • Autophagy
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunologic Surveillance*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Suppressor Factors, Immunologic / physiology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology
  • Tumor Escape*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Suppressor Factors, Immunologic