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Interferon-γ: teammate or opponent in the tumour microenvironment?
Nature Reviews Immunology  (IF53.106),  Pub Date : 2021-06-21, DOI: 10.1038/s41577-021-00566-3
Angela M. Gocher, Creg J. Workman, Dario A. A. Vignali

Cancer immunotherapy offers substantive benefit to patients with various tumour types, in some cases leading to complete tumour clearance. However, many patients do not respond to immunotherapy, galvanizing the field to define the mechanisms of pre-existing and acquired resistance. Interferon-γ (IFNγ) is a cytokine that has both protumour and antitumour activities, suggesting that it may serve as a nexus for responsiveness to immunotherapy. Many cancer immunotherapies and chemotherapies induce IFNγ production by various cell types, including activated T cells and natural killer cells. Patients resistant to these therapies commonly have molecular aberrations in the IFNγ signalling pathway or express resistance molecules driven by IFNγ. Given that all nucleated cells can respond to IFNγ, the functional consequences of IFNγ production need to be carefully dissected on a cell-by-cell basis. Here, we review the cells that produce IFNγ and the different effects of IFNγ in the tumour microenvironment, highlighting the pleiotropic nature of this multifunctional and abundant cytokine.