Cancer immunoediting describes the mechanisms by which the immune system responds to cancer and can be broadly split into three phases: elimination, equilibrium, and escape. During the elimination phase, the immune system surveils and eliminates tumor cells through the production of inflammatory cytokines, recognition of tumor antigens by dendritic cells, or activation of natural killer cells. Equilibrium describes a phase of cancer persistence in which there is a selection for tumor cells that were not eliminated. During this phase, tumor cells are selected through immune cell exhaustion or inhibition, genetic and epigenetic changes, or resistance to immune detection. Escape occurs when tumors cells have escaped immune detection and are able to grow and expand. This can happen through a variety of mechanisms including the shedding of tumor recognition antigens, MDSC-induced immunosuppression, or development of a microenvironment that supports T cell apoptosis.
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