Immune cells play a key role in host defense against infection and cancer. Upon encountering danger signals, these cells undergo activation leading to a modulation in their immune functions. However, recent studies reveal that immune cells upon activation also show distinct metabolic changes that impact their immune functions. Such metabolic reprogramming and its functional effects are well known for cancer cells. Given that immune cells have emerged as crucial players in cancer progression, it is important to understand whether immune cells also undergo metabolic reprogramming in tumors and how this might affect their contribution in cancer progression. This emerging aspect of tumor-associated immune cells is reviewed here, discussing metabolic reprogramming of different immune cell types, the key pathways involved, and its impact on tumor progression.
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