Tumour immunology is the interaction between cells of the the immune system and tumour cells (malignancies)
Tumour immunology is central to our understanding of the mechanisms of both tumour rejection and tumour progression. Virtually every known cell type of the immune system is represented in the tumour microenvironment, but as yet the functional significance of intratumoral effector cells is not fully understood. Moreover, the complex interactions between these immune cells within the tumour have yet to be fully elucidated. Although many individual effector cells have the capacity to kill tumour cells in vitro, they are frequently suppressed within the tumour microenvironment through a range of mechanisms. In this article, the known functions of immune effector cells within the tumour and the suppressive processes limiting the function of those cells are described. The purpose of tumour immunology should be to give us a better understanding of how to manipulate the immune system to fight cancer. Some relevant applications of tumour immunotherapy are therefore described.