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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 890178, 12 pages
Review Article

Cytotoxic Chemotherapy and CD4+ Effector T Cells: An Emerging Alliance for Durable Antitumor Effects

1Cancer Immunotherapy Program, Cancer Center, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA 30912, USA
2Hematology/Oncology Section, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA, USA

Received 12 July 2011; Revised 1 November 2011; Accepted 5 November 2011

Academic Editor: Takami Sato

Copyright © 2012 Zhi-Chun Ding and Gang Zhou. 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.


Standard cytotoxic chemotherapy can initially achieve high response rates, but relapses often occur in patients and represent a severe clinical problem. As increasing numbers of chemotherapeutic agents are found to have immunostimulatory effects, there is a growing interest to combine chemotherapy and immunotherapy for synergistic antitumor effects and improved clinical benefits. Findings from recent studies suggest that highly activated, polyfunctional CD4+ effector T cells have tremendous potential in strengthening and sustaining the overall host antitumor immunity in the postchemotherapy window. This review focuses on the latest progresses regarding the impact of chemotherapy on CD4+ T-cell phenotype and function and discusses the prospect of exploiting CD4+ T cells to control tumor progression and prevent relapse after chemotherapy.