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Semin Cancer Biol. 2002 Aug;12(4):277-90.

Interleukin-1--a major pleiotropic cytokine in tumor-host interactions.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences and The Cancer Research Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel.


Interleukin-1 (IL-1) represents a family of two agonistic proteins, IL-1alpha and IL-1beta, that are pleiotropic and affect hemopoiesis, inflammation, and immunity. In the context of the producing cell, IL-1beta is solely active in its secreted form, whereas IL-1alpha is active as an intracellular precursor, as a membrane-associated cytokine and to a lesser extent as a secreted molecule. IL-1 is abundant at tumor sites, where it may not only affect the growth and invasiveness of malignant cells, but where it may also induce antitumor immunity. Here we review the effects of microenvironmental and tumor cell-associated IL-1 on malignant processes, in experimental tumor models and in cancer patients.

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