Boosting immune system against cancer by resveratrol

Phytother Res. 2021 Oct;35(10):5514-5526. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7189. Epub 2021 Jun 8.


Modulation of the immune system is a critical part of anticancer therapies including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The aim of immunomodulation in cancer therapy is boosting immune system cells including CD8+ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells, as well as suppression of immunosuppressive responses by macrophages and regulatory T cells (Tregs). Usually, using single or dual modality can induce immune system responses against cancer. However, immunosuppressive responses attenuate antitumor immunity following cancer therapy. Using some agents to boost immune system's function against cancer can increase therapeutic efficiency of anticancer therapy. Resveratrol, as a natural agent, has shown ability to modulate the immune system to potentiate antitumor immunity. Resveratrol has been shown to induce the release of anticancer cytokines such as IFN-γ and TNF-α and also inhibits the release of TGF-β. It also can stimulate the polarization of CD4+ T cells and macrophages toward anticancer cells and reduce infiltration and polarization of immunosuppressive cells. Furthermore, resveratrol can sensitize cancer cells to the released dead signals by anticancer immune cells. This review explains how resveratrol can boost the immune system against cancer via modulation of immune cell responses within tumor.

Keywords: CD4+ T lymphocytes; antitumor immunity; cancer; immune system; resveratrol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Killer Cells, Natural
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Resveratrol / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory


  • Resveratrol