In many settings, tumor-associated inflammation, supported mainly by innate immune cells, contributes to tumor growth. Initial innate activation triggers secretion of inflammatory, regenerative, and anti-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn shape the adaptive immune response to the tumor. Here, we review the current understanding of the intricate dialog between cancer-associated inflammation and anti-tumor immunity. We discuss the changing nature of these interactions during tumor progression and the impact of the tissue environment on the anti-tumor immune response. In this context, we outline important gaps in current understanding by considering basic research and findings in the clinic. The future of cancer immunotherapy and its utility depend on improved understanding of these interactions and the ability to manipulate them in a predictable and beneficial manner.
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