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Immunotherapy. 2011 Jul;3(7):895-907. doi: 10.2217/imt.11.80.

Cytokines in neuroblastoma: from pathogenesis to treatment.

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  • 1Laboratory of Oncology, G Gaslini Institute, Largo G Gaslini 5, 16148 Genova, Italy.


Cytokines released by cancer cells or by cells of the tumor microenvironment stimulate angiogenesis, act as autocrine or paracrine growth factors for malignant cells, promote tumor cell migration and metastasis or create an immunosuppressive microenvironment. These tumor-promoting effects of cytokines also apply to neuroblastoma (NB), a pediatric neuroectodermal malignancy with frequent metastatic presentation at diagnosis and poor prognosis. IL-6 and VEGF are the best characterized cytokines that stimulated tumor growth and metastasis, while others such as IFN-γ can exert anti-NB activity by inducing tumor cell apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis. On the other hand, cytokines are part of the anti-NB therapeutic armamentarium, as exemplified by IL-2 and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor that potentiate the activity of anti-NB antibodies. These recent results raise hope for more efficacious treatment of this ominous pediatric malignancy.

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