Universiteit Leiden

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Pulling the strings on anti-cancer immunity

Promotores: J. Jonkers, K.E. de Visser

Kelly Kersten
07 februari 2017
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Despite recent clinical advances, breast cancer still remains one of the main causes of cancer-related death in women. The majority of these deaths are caused by metastatic disease, which is still poorly understood and incurable. Recent clinical and experimental studies have shown that the role of the immune system in cancer progression and therapy responsiveness is paradoxical. While some immune cells are able to attack and kill cancer cells, other populations counteract anti-tumor immune responses and promote cancer progression. To provide optimal treatment options for patients with disseminated cancer, we need to gain a better understanding of the delicate balance between pro- and anti-tumor immunity. This thesis describes the complex interactions between innate and adaptive immune cells that facilitate metastatic spread in a mouse model of spontaneous invasive breast cancer. Moreover, this thesis describes that the use of chemo-immunotherapy as a therapeutic strategy can enhance anti-tumor immunity to fight breast cancer.

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