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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2013, Article ID 835956, 16 pages
Review Article

Protumor Activities of the Immune Response: Insights in the Mechanisms of Immunological Shift, Oncotraining, and Oncopromotion

1Unidad de Investigación Médica en Enfermedades Infecciosas y Parasitarias (UIMEIP), Hospital de Pediatría Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Avenida Cuauhtémoc 330, Colonia Doctores, 06725 Delegación Cuauhtémoc, DF, Mexico
2Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Quimicobiológicas del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), Mexico
3Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Biomédicas de la Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico

Received 20 December 2012; Accepted 25 January 2013

Academic Editor: Bruno Vincenzi

Copyright © 2013 G. K. Chimal-Ramírez 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.


Experimental and clinical studies indicate that cells of the innate and adaptive immune system have both anti- and pro-tumor activities. This dual role of the immune system has led to a conceptual shift in the role of the immune system’s regulation of cancer, in which immune-tumor cell interactions are understood as a dynamic process that comprises at least five phases: immunosurveillance, immunoselection, immunoescape, oncotraining, and oncopromotion. The tumor microenvironment shifts immune cells to perform functions more in tune with the tumor needs (oncotraining); these functions are related to chronic inflammation and tissue remodeling activities. Among them are increased proliferation and survival, increased angiogenesis and vessel permeability, protease secretion, acquisition of migratory mesenchymal characteristics, and self-renewal properties that altogether promote tumor growth and metastasis (oncopromotion). Important populations in all these pro-tumor processes are M2 macrophages, N2 neutrophils, regulatory T cells, and myeloid derived suppressor cells; the main effectors molecules are CSF-1, IL-6, metalloproteases, VEGF, PGE-2, TGF-β, and IL-10. Cancer prognosis correlates with densities and concentrations of protumoral populations and molecules, providing ideal targets for the intelligent design of directed preventive or anticancer therapies.