Accumulated data from animal models and human cancer patients strongly support the concept that the immune system can identify and control nascent tumor cells in a process called cancer immunosurveillance. In addition, the immune system can also promote tumor progression through chronic inflammation, immunoselection of poorly immunogenic variants, and suppressing antitumor immunity. Together, the dual host-protective and tumor-promoting actions of immunity are referred to as cancer immunoediting. The current framework of cancer immunoediting is a dynamic process comprised of three distinct phases: elimination, equilibrium, and escape. Recently, we demonstrated that immunoselection by CD8(+) T cells of tumor variants lacking strong tumor-specific antigens represents one mechanism by which cancer cells escape tumor immunity and points toward the future of personalized cancer therapy.
© 2013 New York Academy of Sciences.