Underestimated for a long time, the involvement of the microenvironment has been proven essential for a better understanding of the cancer development. In keeping with this, the tumor is not considered anymore as a mass of malignant cells, but rather as an organ composed of various malignant and nonmalignant cell populations interacting with each other to create the tumor microenvironment. The tumor immune contexture plays a critical role in shaping the tumor immune response, and it is now well supported that such an immune response is impacted by the hypoxic stress within the tumor microenvironment. Tumor hypoxia is closely linked to tumor progression, metastasis, treatment failure, and escape from immune surveillance. Thus, hypoxia seems to be a key factor involved in creating an immune-suppressive tumor by multiple overlapping mechanisms, including the impairment of the function of cytotoxic immune cells, increasing the immunosuppressive properties of immunosuppressive cells, and activating resistance mechanism in the tumor cells. In this chapter, we review some recent findings describing how hypoxic stress in the tumor microenvironment hijacks the antitumor immune response.
Part of the book: Hypoxia and Human Diseases