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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2005 Aug;9(4):737-52.

Interleukin-6 and new strategies for the treatment of cancer, hyperproliferative diseases and paraneoplastic syndromes.

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  • 1Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, 185 S Orange Avenue, MSB G519, Newark, New Jersey 07103, USA.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleiomorphic cytokine whose growth factor properties play an important role in the development and progression of many types of cancer. IL-6 is produced in response to a variety of stimuli, and is required for the development of T and B lymphocytes to effector cells. In certain neoplasias, such as multiple myeloma, IL-6 is both produced and required for survival by the cancer cell itself. In other neoplasias, IL-6 may come from tissue surrounding the tumour. Thus, therapeutic strategies aimed at inhibiting the production, expression or action of IL-6 would be quite beneficial in the treatment of cancer. Moreover, IL-6 is a pathophysiological factor in several hyperproliferative diseases and the paraneoplastic syndromes that often accompany cancer, such as cachexia and osteoporosis; thus, anti-IL-6 therapy would be useful in treating these entities as well. This expert opinion acquaints the reader with IL-6, its physiological responses, the cancer types with which it is associated, and discusses the current state of therapy aimed at inhibiting it.

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