The lymphatic system consists of a unidirectional hierarchy of vessels responsible for fluid homeostasis, lipid absorption, and the transport of immune cells and antigens to secondary lymphoid organs. In cancer, lymphatics play complex and heterogenous roles that can promote or inhibit tumor growth. While lymphatic proliferation and remodeling promote tumor dissemination, functional lymphatics are necessary for generating an effective immune response. Recent reports have noted lymphatic-dependent effects on the efficacy of immunotherapy. These findings suggest that the impact of lymphatic vessels on tumor progression is organ- and context-specific and that a greater understanding of the interaction of tumor cells, lymphatics, and the tumor microenvironment can unveil novel therapies.
Keywords: immunomodulation; lymphatics; metastasis; tumor microenvironment; tumorigenesis.