Tumour Immunomodulation: Mucins in Resistance to Initiation and Maturation of Immune Response Against Tumours


Correspondence to: H. Devaraj, Unit of Biochemistry and Glycotechnology, Life Sciences Building, University of Madras, Guindy campus, Chennai – 600025, India. E-mail: hdrajum@yahoo.com


Mucins are high molecular weight glycoproteins designed for cellular protection and sensing the external environment. Aberrant glycosylation and altered mucin expression seen in cancers are implicated in mucin-dependent refraction to immunosurveilance and immunosuppressive induction around the tumour. Although mucins provide molecular targets for immune system's tumour recognition, their characteristics dictate that the nature of immune response required for recognition and lyses of mucin-expressing tumours needs to follow predominantly a MHC-unrestricted αβ TCR-mediated effector cell response. Frequent loss of dendritic cells maturation and elimination of reactive lymphocytes altered adhesive and anti-adhesive properties of the mucins, promote tumour survival and escape from the immune response.