Cancer immunoediting by the innate immune system in the absence of adaptive immunity

Timothy O'Sullivan, Robert Saddawi-Konefka, William Vermi Koebel, Cora Arthur, J. Michael White, Ravi Uppaluri, Daniel M. Andrews, Shin Foong Ngiow, Michele W.L. Teng, Mark J. Smyth, Robert D. Schreiber, Jack D. Bui

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236 Scopus citations


Cancer immunoediting is the process whereby immune cells protect against cancer formation by sculpting the immunogenicity of developing tumors. Although the full process depends on innate and adaptive immunity, it remains unclear whether innate immunity alone is capable of immunoediting. To determine whether the innate immune system can edit tumor cells in the absence of adaptive immunity, we compared the incidence and immunogenicity of 3'methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas in syngeneic wild-type, RAG2-/-, and RAG2-/-x γc-/- mice. We found that innate immune cells could manifest cancer immunoediting activity in the absence of adaptive immunity. This activity required natural killer (NK) cells and interferon γ (IFN-γ), which mediated the induction of M1 macrophages. M1 macrophages could be elicited by administration of CD40 agonists, thereby restoring editing activity in RAG2-/-x γc-/- mice. Our results suggest that in the absence of adaptive immunity, NK cell production of IFN-γ induces M1 macrophages, which act as important effectors during cancer immunoediting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-1882
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2012


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