A Dual Role of Type I Interferons in Antitumor Immunity

Lili Zhou, Yuqi Zhang, Yongqiang Wang, Meirong Zhang, Wenhuan Sun, Tong Dai, Aijun Wang, Xiaojin Wu, Suping Zhang, Shuai Wang, Fangfang Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Type I interferons (IFN-Is) are a family of cytokines that exert direct antiviral effects and regulate innate and adaptive immune responses through direct and indirect mechanisms. It is generally believed that IFN-Is repress tumor development via restricting tumor proliferation and inducing antitumor immune responses. However, recent emerging evidence suggests that IFN-Is play a dual role in antitumor immunity. That is, in the early stage of tumorigenesis, IFN-Is promote the antitumor immune response by enhancing antigen presentation in antigen-presenting cells and activating CD8+ T cells. However, in the late stage of tumor progression, persistent expression of IFN-Is induces the expression of immunosuppressive factors (PD-L1, IDO, and IL-10) on the surface of dendritic cells and other bone marrow cells and inhibits their antitumor immunity. This review outlines these dual functions of IFN-Is in antitumor immunity and elucidates the involved mechanisms, as well as their applications in tumor therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvanced Biosystems
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • antitumor immunity
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • type I interferons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Zhou, L., Zhang, Y., Wang, Y., Zhang, M., Sun, W., Dai, T., Wang, A., Wu, X., Zhang, S., Wang, S., & Zhou, F. (Accepted/In press). A Dual Role of Type I Interferons in Antitumor Immunity. Advanced Biosystems. https://doi.org/10.1002/adbi.201900237