Blood and blood-component therapy triggers immunological reactions in recipients. Transfusion-related immunomodulation [TRIM] is an important complex biological immune reaction to transfusion culminating in immunosuppression. The mechanisms underlying TRIM include the presence of residual leukocytes and apoptotic cells, the transfusion of immunosuppressive cytokines either present in donor components or generated during blood processing, the transfer of metabolically active growth factor-loaded microparticles and extracellular vesicles and the presence of free hemoglobin or extracellular vesicle-bound hemoglobin. TRIM variables include donor-specific factors as well as processing variables. TRIM may explain, at least in part, the controversial negative clinical outcomes observed in cancer patients receiving transfusion in the context of curative-intent surgeries. The use of novel technologies including metabolomics and proteomics on stored blood may pave the way for a deeper understanding of TRIM in general and its impact on cancer progression.
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