Immune Modulatory microRNAs Involved in Tumor Attack and Tumor Immune Escape

Stefan B. Eichmüller, Wolfram Osen, Ofer Mandelboim, Barbara Seliger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Current therapies against cancer utilize the patient’s immune system for tumor eradication. However, tumor cells can evade immune surveillance of CD8þ T and/or natural killer (NK) cells by various strategies. These include the aberrant expression of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I antigens, co-inhibitory or costimulatory molecules, and components of the interferon (IFN) signal transduction pathway. In addition, alterations of the tumor microenvironment could interfere with efficient antitumor immune responses by downregulating or inhibiting the frequency and/or functional activity of immune effector cells and professional antigen-presenting cells. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been identified as major players in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, thereby controlling many physiological and also pathophysiological processes including neoplastic transformation. Indeed, the cellular miRNA expression pattern is frequently altered in many tumors of distinct origin, demonstrating the tumor suppressive or oncogenic potential of miRNAs. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that miRNAs could also influence antitumor immune responses by affecting the expression of immune modulatory molecules in tumor and immune cells. Apart from their important role in tumor immune escape and altered tumor-host interaction, immune modulatory miRNAs often exert neoplastic properties, thus representing promising targets for future combined immunotherapy approaches. This review focuses on the characterization of miRNAs involved in the regulation of immune surveillance or immune escape of tumors and their potential use as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers or as therapeutic targets.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberdjx034
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


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