The eye and the ocular adnexa may give rise to over three hundred histologically different tumors - by far the largest tumor variety of the human body. However, the immunological behavior of these tumors has only been explored in some cases, although it is well established that the eye is an immune-privileged site in which cells that express foreign antigens escape immune-mediated elimination. Human tumors also create an immune-privileged surrounding and thereby escape from anti-tumor immune responses.
Highlighting aspects of ocular and general tumor, this text summarizes the role of the immune system and how tumor tissue can influence various parameters (T-cells, NK-cells, HLA-expression, apoptosis), leading to escape mechanisms used by the tumor. New therapeutic regimens urgently required by patients are also reviewed, and the immunological behavior of skin melanoma is compared to choroidal melanoma, whilst basal cell carcinoma of the ocular lid is compared to those of the skin.