Through activation of immune cells, the immune system is responsible for identifying and destroying infected or otherwise damaged cells including tumorigenic cells that can be recognized as foreign, thus maintaining homeostasis. However, tumor cells have evolved several mechanisms to avoid immune cell detection and killing, resulting in tumor growth and progression. In the tumor microenvironment, tumor infiltrating immune cells are inactivated by soluble factors or tumor promoting conditions and lose their effects on tumor cells. Analysis of signaling and crosstalk between immune cells and tumor cells have helped us to understand in more detail the mechanisms of tumor immune evasion and this forms basis for drug development strategies in the area of cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we will summarize the dominant signaling networks involved in immune escape and describe the status of development of therapeutic strategies to target tumor immune evasion mechanisms with focus on how the tumor microenvironment interacts with T cells.

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