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The Vicious Cross-Talk between Tumor Cells with an EMT Phenotype and Cells of the Immune System

1
Fondazione per la Medicina Solidale, via San Cosimo 8 Pellaro, 89134 Reggio Calabria, Italy
2
Department of Pharmacological and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Milan, via Trentacoste 2, 20134 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2019, 8(5), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8050460
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Microenvironment: Interaction and Metabolism)
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Abstract

Carcinoma cells that undergo an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and display a predominantly mesenchymal phenotype (hereafter EMT tumor cells) are associated with immune exclusion and immune deviation in the tumor microenvironment (TME). A large body of evidence has shown that EMT tumor cells and immune cells can reciprocally influence each other, with EMT cells promoting immune exclusion and deviation and immune cells promoting, under certain circumstances, the induction of EMT in tumor cells. This cross-talk between EMT tumor cells and immune cells can occur both between EMT tumor cells and cells of either the native or adaptive immune system. In this article, we review this evidence and the functional consequences of it. We also discuss some recent evidence showing that tumor cells and cells of the immune system respond to similar stimuli, activate the expression of partially overlapping gene sets, and acquire, at least in part, identical functionalities such as migration and invasion. The possible significance of these symmetrical changes in the cross-talk between EMT tumor cells and immune cells is addressed. Eventually, we also discuss possible therapeutic opportunities that may derive from disrupting this cross-talk. View Full-Text
Keywords: EMT; immune exclusion; immune deviation; cross-talk; cytokines; chemokines; exosomes EMT; immune exclusion; immune deviation; cross-talk; cytokines; chemokines; exosomes
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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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Romeo, E.; Caserta, C.A.; Rumio, C.; Marcucci, F. The Vicious Cross-Talk between Tumor Cells with an EMT Phenotype and Cells of the Immune System. Cells 2019, 8, 460.

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