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In Vivo. 1991 Nov-Dec;5(6):583-8.

Interleukin 6 and cancer treatment.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCLA School of Medicine 90024-1740.


Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine, with a wide range of biological effects. The diverse biological actions of IL-6 could play important roles in the enhancement or suppression of tumor growth and development. IL-6 has been seen to act as an autocrine and/or paracrine growth factor for various human tumors, including multiple myeloma, renal cancer, and AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma. However, IL-6 also can exert potent anti-tumor effects: administration of IL-6 has been seen to result in decreased tumor appearance in experimental animal systems. Therefore, potentially useful anti-tumor therapeutic strategies could include the inhibition of the activity of IL-6, or alternatively, the enhancement of anti-tumor responses by the administration of exogenous IL-6.

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