Article Abstract

The evolving understanding of immunoediting and the clinical impact of immune escape

Authors: Caroline E. McCoach, Trever G. Bivona


The role of the immune system in cancer development has long been considered and studied. One of the originators of the theory of immune system involvement in cancer was Paul Ehrlich who postulated that the immune system can suppress the growth of tumor cells (1). Decades of work trying to verify this hypothesis followed and in the 1950s Burnet and Thomas each contributed to the theory that is now referred to as immunosurveillance (2,3). Essentially, the immune system functions as a sentinel to monitor the body for tumor specific neo-antigens. Once detected, the host immune system then targets nascent cancer cells for destruction.