Multifaceted Kinetics of Immuno-Evasion from Tumor Dormancy

  • Alberto d’Onofrio
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 734)


Tumor progression is subject to modulation by the immune system. The immune system can eliminate tumors or keep them at a dormant equilibrium size, while some tumors escape immunomodulation and advance to malignancy. Herein, we discuss some aspects of immune evasion of dormant tumors from a theoretical biophysics point of view that can be modeled mathematically. We go on to analyze the mathematical system on multiple timescales. First, we consider a long timescale where tumor evasion is likely due to adaptive (and somewhat deterministic) immuno-editing. Then, we consider the temporal mesoscale and hypothesize that extrinsic noise could be a major factor in induction of immuno-evasion. Implications of immuno-evasive mechanisms for the outcome of immunotherapies are also discussed. In addition, we discuss the ideas that population level tumor dormancy may not be a quiescence phenomenon and that dormant tumors can, at least if modulated by the immune system, live a very active and noisy life!


Tumor dormancy Immune system Immuno-evasion Immuno-editing Systems biomedicine 



I very much thank Heiko Enderling, Nava Almog, and Lynn Hlatky for inviting me to contribute to this book! I also extend my thanks to the anonymous referees for their very useful suggestions.

This work was performed in the framework of the Integrated Project “P-medicine—from data sharing and integration via VPH models to personalized medicine” (project ID: 270089), which is partially funded by the European Commission under the 7th framework program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental OncologyEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanoItaly

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