IMR Press / FBS / Volume 3 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/243

Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Mother knows best: lessons from fetomaternal tolerance applied to cancer immunity
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1 Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Luis Porrata

Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2011, 3(4), 1533–1540;
Published: 1 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic modulation of anti-cancer immunity in humans)

Failure of the immune system to recognize and eradicate tumor cells has deadly consequences. It is possible that the normal host response to the inflammatory environment created by many cancers – the body's natural attempt at wound repair and restoration of tissue integrity – is one of counter-regulation that paradoxically favors tumor growth. A physiologic condition where this situation is favorable (and even required) is that of normal pregnancy, where blastocyst implantation creates endometrial inflammation, and the maternal response in turn supports angiogenesis and tolerance required for placentation. Lack of such inflammation and resultant maternal immunologic engagement can lead to serious pregnancy complications including fetal loss, highlighting how important the fetomaternal immunologic dialogue is for survival. Here, we describe how the dynamics of fetomaternal tolerance can help disentangle complex cancer/host immunologic interactions and provide new avenues for immunologic reconstitution in patients with cancer.

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