Natural innate and adaptive immunity to cancer

Matthew D. Vesely, Michael H. Kershaw, Robert D. Schreiber, Mark J. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1331 Scopus citations


The immune system can identify and destroy nascent tumor cells in a process termed cancer immunosurveillance, which functions as an important defense against cancer. Recently, data obtained from numerous investigations in mouse models of cancer and in humans with cancer offer compelling evidence that particular innate and adaptive immune cell types, effector molecules, and pathways can sometimes collectively function as extrinsic tumor-suppressor mechanisms. However, the immune system can also promote tumor progression. Together, the dual host-protective and tumor-promoting actions of immunity are referred to as cancer immunoediting. In this review, we discuss the current experimental and human clinical data supporting a cancer immunoediting process that provide the fundamental basis for further study of immunity to cancer and for the rational design of immunotherapies against cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-271
Number of pages37
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - Apr 23 2011


  • equilibrium
  • immunoediting
  • immunosuppression
  • immunosurveillance
  • immunotherapy
  • inflammation


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