Natural killer (NK) cells are cytotoxic and cytokine-secreting cells that can mediate potent anti-tumour activity. Accumulating evidence indicates that NK cell functions are severely compromised within the confines of the tumour microenvironment thus impairing the efficacy and development of NK cell-based therapies. Here we review the various cellular and molecular pathways that tumours have supplanted to evade NK cell surveillance. We highlight novel strategies designed to alleviate or circumvent the immunosuppressive conditions of the tumour microenvironment in order to emancipate NK cell function and stifle the inexorable growth and metastasis of malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in immunology
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Checkpoint blockade
  • Immunosuppression
  • Immunotherapy
  • Inhibitory receptors
  • Natural Killer cell
  • Tumour microenvironment


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