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Immunol Lett. 2000 Sep 15;74(1):41-4.

Cytokines in cancer therapy.

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Unit of Immunotherapy of Human Tumors, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Via G. Venezian 1, 20133, Milan, Italy.


Cytokines are crucial factors in the activation and development of immune response, including responses against tumor cells. Interleukin (IL)-2, a T-cell growth factor, has been largely used to activate T and NK cells in vivo and to maintain such an activation for therapeutic purposes. When given to patients, IL-2 was shown to cause clinical responses, especially in metastatic melanoma and renal cancer patients, though its mechanism of action could not be completely elucidated. Cytokines (IL-2, IL-12, GM-CSF) are also used as natural adjuvants of vaccines of various formulation to help in activating and maintaining an antitumor immune response. This review summarizes findings deriving from the use of cytokines in cancer therapy and provides insights into future approaches when a more appropriate use of cytokines, together with new vaccines, is likely to improve clinical outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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