For decades we have been learning about the interplay between tumors and the
immune system. Our knowledge seemed somewhat incomplete and indirect, like
listening to the ocean waves through a shell. Only recently, cancer immunotherapy has
started to become a reality, with Provenge (Dendreon Corporation, WA), an
autologous antigen-presenting cell preparation, earning the approval of United States
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer in
Immune system is composed of innate and adaptive responses and plays critical
roles in cancer development and destruction. A century ago, Paul Ehrlich postulated
that cancer would be quite common in long-lived organisms if not for the protective
effects of immunity. About 50 years later, Burnet and Thomas proposed the concept
of cancer immunosurveillance based on the experimental evidence of immune recognition
of tumor antigens expressed on tumor cells (Dunn et al. 2004 ) . In 1971, the
US Congress created a National Cancer Act – a War on Cancer.
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Clinical Manifestations Patients with cancer who develop deep venous thrombosis usually develop swelling or pain in the leg, and physical examination reveals tenderness, warmth, and redness. Patients who present with pulmonary embolism develop dyspnea, chest pain, and syncope, and physical examination shows tachycardia, cyanosis, and hypotension. Some 5% of patients with no history of cancer who have a diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism will have a diagnosis of cancer within 1 year.