Tumor-associated immune responses assert varied responses toward developing neoplasms that can either act to eradicate malignant cells via engagement of potent cytotoxic programs or alternatively enhance tumor growth through release of multifunctional pro-tumor mediators. Seemingly paradoxical, these disparate activities reflect a continuum of polarization (or activation) states possible for distinct leukocyte subsets that demonstrate tissue, organ, and tumor selectivity. Herein, we review clinical and experimental studies investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms utilized by neoplastic tissues to alternatively polarize immune responses that favor either pro- or anti-tumor immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Adaptive immunity
  • Cancer
  • Humoral immunity
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Leukocytes


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