Evasive mechanisms range from a passive failure to express major histocompatibility complexes (MHC) and co-stimulatory molecules 4,5 to active strategies such as the production of immunosuppressive cytokines and other factors 6,7 . Passive and active processes are also involved in the Fas counterattack.[s]
The Fas ligand (FasL, C95L) is expressed by cells of the lymphoid/myeloid series and by non-lymphoid cells, where it contributes to the 'immune privilege' of cancer cells by inducing apoptosis in infiltrating proinflammatory immunocytes 9,10. Simultaneously, many cancer cells are relatively resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
This resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis might be a result of downregulation of Fas, or release of soluble Fas, or of abnormalities in the level of several signal transduction cascade proteins. Neoplastic Fas resistance might also result from downregulation of caspase 1, Bax or Bak, and upregulation of FLIP, FAP-1 or Bcl2. Further, some components of the pathway exhibit mutations, including Fas itself and caspase 8. Some mutations of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, which are commonly found in tumors, could impair Fas signaling (p53 and Ras) or could cooperate with Fas resistance (c-Myc) in certain tumor cells. Many cancer cells express FasL, so are able to counterattack and kill Fas-sensitive tumor- infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs).[s]