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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 931952, 19 pages
Review Article

Exploiting the Interplay between Innate and Adaptive Immunity to Improve Immunotherapeutic Strategies for Epstein-Barr-Virus-Driven Disorders

1Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit CRO-IRCCS, National Cancer Institute, Via F. Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano, Italy
2Department of Oncology and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, Via F. Gallini 2, 35128 Padova, Italy
3Cancer Bioimmunotherapy Unit, Department of Medical Oncology, CRO National Cancer Institute, Via F. Gallini 2, 33081 Aviano, Italy

Received 27 July 2011; Revised 28 September 2011; Accepted 16 October 2011

Academic Editor: Mauro Tognon

Copyright © 2012 Debora Martorelli et al. 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 recent demonstration that immunotherapeutic approaches may be clinically effective for cancer patients has renewed the interest for this strategy of intervention. In particular, clinical trials using adoptive T-cell therapies disclosed encouraging results, particularly in the context of Epstein-Barr-virus- (EBV-) related tumors. Nevertheless, the rate of complete clinical responses is still limited, thus stimulating the development of more effective therapeutic protocols. Considering the relevance of innate immunity in controlling both infections and cancers, innovative immunotherapeutic approaches should take into account also this compartment to improve clinical efficacy. Evidence accumulated so far indicates that innate immunity effectors, particularly NK cells, can be exploited with therapeutic purposes and new targets have been recently identified. We herein review the complex interactions between EBV and innate immunity and summarize the therapeutic strategies involving both adaptive and innate immune system, in the light of a fruitful integration between these immunotherapeutic modalities for a better control of EBV-driven tumors.