Author(s): Mendes F, Domingues C, RodriguesSantos P, Abrantes AM, Gonalves AC,
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Abstract Immune surveillance seems to represent an effective tumor suppressor mechanism. However, some cancer cells survive and become variants, being poorly immunogenic and able to enter a steady-state phase. These cells become functionally dormant or remain hidden clinically throughout. Neoplastic cells seem to be able to instruct immune cells to undergo changes promoting malignancy. Radiotherapy may act as a trigger of the immune response. After radiotherapy a sequence of reactions occurs, starting in the damage of oncogenic cells by multiple mechanisms, leading to the immune system positive feedback against the tumor. The link between radiotherapy and the immune system is evident. T cells, macrophages, Natural Killer cells and other immune cells seem to have a key role in controlling the tumor. T cells may be dysfunctional and remain in a state of T cell exhaustion, nonetheless, they often retain a high potential for successful defense against cancer, being able to be mobilized to become highly functional. The lack of clinical trials on a large scale makes data a little robust, in spite of promising information, there are still many variables in the studies relating to radiation and immune system. The clarification of the mechanisms underlying immune response to radiation exposure may contribute to treatment improvement, gain of life quality and span of patients. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta
and referenced in Journal of Pharmacogenomics & Pharmacoproteomics