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Vaccines 2015, 3(3), 597-619; doi:10.3390/vaccines3030597

Cancer Dormancy: A Regulatory Role for Endogenous Immunity in Establishing and Maintaining the Tumor Dormant State

Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Center, Saint Savas Cancer Hospital, 171 Alexandras avenue, Athens 11522, Greece
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mary Lenora (Nora) Disis
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 22 July 2015 / Accepted: 23 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Vaccines)
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Abstract

The significant contribution of host immunity in early tumorigenesis has been recently recognized as a result of our better understanding of the molecular pathways regulating tumor cell biology and tumor-lymphocyte interactions. Emerging evidence suggests that disseminated dormant tumor cells derived from primary tumors before or after immune surveillance, are responsible for subsequent metastases. Recent trends from the field of onco-immunology suggest that efficiently stimulating endogenous anticancer immunity is a prerequisite for the successful outcome of conventional cancer therapies. Harnessing the immune system to achieve clinical efficacy is realistic in the context of conventional therapies resulting in immunogenic cell death and/or immunostimulatory side effects. Targeted therapies designed to target oncogenic pathways in tumor cells can also positively regulate the endogenous immune response and tumor microenvironment. Identification of T cell inhibitory signals has prompted the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which specifically hinder immune effector inhibition, reinvigorating and potentially expanding the preexisting anticancer immune response. This anticancer immunity can be amplified in the setting of immunotherapies, mostly in the form of vaccines, which boost naturally occurring T cell clones specifically recognizing tumor antigens. Thus, a promising anticancer therapy will aim to activate patients’ naturally occurring anticancer immunity either to eliminate residual tumor cells or to prolong dormancy in disseminated tumor cells. Such an endogenous anticancer immunity plays a significant role for controlling the balance between dormant tumor cells and tumor escape, and restraining metastases. In this review, we mean to suggest that anticancer therapies aiming to stimulate the endogenous antitumor responses provide the concept of the therapeutic management of cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: targeted therapies; tumor-oriented therapies; tumor microenvironment; tumor dormancy; endogenous immunity; immunoediting; immunotherapy; cancer stem cells targeted therapies; tumor-oriented therapies; tumor microenvironment; tumor dormancy; endogenous immunity; immunoediting; immunotherapy; cancer stem cells
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Baxevanis, C.N.; Perez, S.A. Cancer Dormancy: A Regulatory Role for Endogenous Immunity in Establishing and Maintaining the Tumor Dormant State. Vaccines 2015, 3, 597-619.

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