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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2004 Feb;53(2):79-85. Epub 2003 Nov 11.

Role of IL-13 in regulation of anti-tumor immunity and tumor growth.

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Molecular Immunogenetics and Vaccine Research Section, Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1578, USA.


Major mediators of anti-tumor immunity are CD4(+) T(h)1 cells and CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). In tumor-bearing animals, the T(h)1- and CTL-mediated anti-tumor immunity is down-regulated in multiple ways. Better understanding of negative regulatory pathways of tumor immunity is crucial for the development of anti-tumor vaccines and immunotherapies. Since immune deviation toward T(h)2 suppresses T(h)1 development, it has been thought that induction affecting a T(h)2 immune response is one of the mechanisms that down-regulate effective tumor immune responses. Recent studies using T(h)2-deficient signal transducer and activator (Stat6) KO mice demonstrated that this hypothesis was the case. IL-13 is one of the T(h)2 cytokines that has very similar features to IL-4 through sharing some receptor components and Stat6 signal transduction. It has been thought that IL-13 is not as critical for immune deviation as IL-4 since it cannot directly act on T cells. However, recent studies of IL-13 reveal that this cytokine plays a critical role in many aspects of immune regulation. Studies from our lab and others indicate that IL-13 is central to a novel immunoregulatory pathway in which NKT cells suppress tumor immunosurveillance. Here we will describe biological properties and functions of IL-13, its role in the negative regulation of anti-tumor immunity, and effects of IL-13 on tumor cells themselves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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