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O’neill C.;Cassidy F.C.;O’shea D.;Hogan A.E.
Mucosal associated invariant t cells in cancer-friend or foe?
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Cancer Immune checkpoint MAIT cells Metabolism
Mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a population of unconventional T cells which can bridge the innate and adaptive immune systems. Well-described roles for MAIT cells include host protection against invading bacteria, fungi and viruses. Upon activation, MAIT cells become prolific effector cells, capable of producing a range of cytokines and lytic molecules. In addition to their anti-microbial role, MAIT cells have been implicated in immune responses to cancer, with opposing beneficial and pathogenic roles reported. On the one hand, MAIT cells can home to the site of the tumour in many human cancers and can produce anti-tumour molecules. On the other, MAIT cells can display defective phenotypes in certain cancers and produce pro-tumour molecules. In this review, we discuss the current literature on the diverse roles for MAIT cells in cancer, outlining their frequencies, functions and associations with N staging and prognosis. We also discuss potential mechanisms underpinning cancer-related alterations in MAIT cells and highlight therapeutic approaches to harness or target MAIT cells in cancer.
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