The immune system plays a pivotal role in the maintenance of the integrity of an organism. Besides the protection against pathogens, it is strongly involved in cancer prevention, development and defense. This review focuses on how the immune system protects against infections and trauma and on its role in cancer development and disease. Focus is set on the interactions of the innate and adaptive immune system and tumors. The role of IFN-γ as a pleiotropic cytokine that plays a very important role at the interface of innate and adaptive immune systems in tumor development and induction of anti-tumor immune responses is outlined. Further, immune cells as prognostic and predictive markers of cancer will be discussed. Data are provided that even the brain as immune privileged organ is subjected to immune surveillance and consequently also brain tumors. Immune therapeutic approaches for glioblastoma multiforme, the most frequent and malignant brain tumor, based on vaccination with dendritic cells are outlined and application of hyperthermia in form of magnetic nanoparticles is discussed. We conclude that the immune system and developing tumors are intimately intertwined. Anti-tumor immune responses can be prominently boosted by multimodal therapies aiming on the one hand to induce immunogenic tumor cell death forms and on the other hand to actively counteract the immune suppressive microenvironment based on the tumor itself.