Research ArticleCancer

Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  04 Mar 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 277, pp. 277ra30
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa1260

Paving the way for intratumoral T cells

Tumors often express unusual antigens and are surrounded by immune cells. Unfortunately, this immune surveillance is imperfect and does not always prevent the tumors from growing. In addition, tumors are often hypoxic, because their rapid growth outstrips that of their blood and oxygen supply. Now, Hatfield et al. have linked these two phenomena by demonstrating that T cells avoid going into the hypoxic areas of tumors. The authors have also shown a way to overcome this problem in mice with lung tumors by having the animals breathe supplementary oxygen. Having a higher concentration of oxygen throughout the body improved the oxygenation inside the tumors, allowing immune cells to enter the tumors and attack them, extending the animals’ survival.