CD73: a potent suppressor of antitumor immune responses

Trends Immunol. 2012 May;33(5):231-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Apr 7.


Tumors use several strategies to evade immunosurveillance. One such mechanism is the generation of adenosine within the tumor microenvironment, which potently suppresses antitumor T cell responses. Adenosine within the tumor is generated by CD73, a membrane-bound nucleotidase that is expressed by tumor cells, suppressive immune subsets such as T regulatory cells (Tregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells and endothelial cells. Recent evidence suggests that targeted inhibition of CD73 has the potential to reduce tumorigenesis and metastasis, as well as enhancing the potency of T-cell-directed therapies. This review outlines the impact of adenosine on suppressing the antitumor response and the evidence supporting the rationale for CD73 targeting in the treatment of cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 5'-Nucleotidase / immunology*
  • Adenosine / immunology
  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / immunology*


  • 5'-Nucleotidase
  • Adenosine