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.
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