Immunity and immune suppression in human ovarian cancer

Claudia C. Preston, Ellen L. Goode, Lynn C. Hartmann, Kimberly R. Kalli, Keith L. Knutson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Clinical outcomes in ovarian cancer are heterogeneous, independent of common features such as stage, response to therapy and grade. This disparity in outcomes warrants further exploration into tumor and host characteristics. One compelling issue is the response of the patient's immune system to her ovarian cancer. Several studies have confirmed a prominent role for the immune system in modifying disease course. This has led to the identification and evaluation of novel immune-modulating therapeutic approaches such as vaccination and antibody therapy. Antitumor immunity, however, is often negated by immune suppression mechanisms present in the tumor microenvironment. Thus, in the future, research into immunotherapy targeting ovarian cancer will probably become increasingly focused on combination approaches that simultaneously augment immunity while preventing local immune suppression. In this article, we summarize important immunological issues that could influence ovarian cancer outcome, including tumor antigens, endogenous immune responses, immune escape and new and developing immunotherapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-556
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • antibody therapy
  • myeloid-derived suppressor cells
  • regulatory T cells
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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