Both microbes and tumors activate innate resistance, tissue repair, and adaptive immunity. Unlike acute infection, tumor growth is initially unapparent; however, inflammation and immunity affect all phases of tumor growth from initiation to progression and dissemination. Here, we discuss the shared features involved in the immune response to infection and cancer including modulation by commensal microbiota, reactive hematopoiesis, chronic immune responses and regulatory mechanisms to prevent collateral tissue damage. This comparative analysis of immunity to infection and cancer furthers our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying innate resistance and adaptive immunity and their translational application to the design of new therapeutic approaches.
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