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ISRN Oncology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 371854, 25 pages
Review Article

Targeting of the Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily for Cancer Immunotherapy

Department of Surgery, Translational Surgical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9713GZ Groningen, The Netherlands

Received 10 April 2013; Accepted 11 May 2013

Academic Editors: H. Al-Ali, J. Bentel, D. Canuti, L. Mutti, and R. V. Sionov

Copyright © 2013 Edwin Bremer. 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.


The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) ligand and cognate TNF receptor superfamilies constitute an important regulatory axis that is pivotal for immune homeostasis and correct execution of immune responses. TNF ligands and receptors are involved in diverse biological processes ranging from the selective induction of cell death in potentially dangerous and superfluous cells to providing costimulatory signals that help mount an effective immune response. This diverse and important regulatory role in immunity has sparked great interest in the development of TNFL/TNFR-targeted cancer immunotherapeutics. In this review, I will discuss the biology of the most prominent proapoptotic and co-stimulatory TNF ligands and review their current status in cancer immunotherapy.