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Eur J Cancer. 2006 Apr;42(6):760-7. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Inflammatory chemokines in cancer growth and progression.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Leukocyte infiltration is a cardinal feature of almost all cancers. Chemokines are generally responsible for eliciting local accumulation of inflammatory cells and they appear to play the same role in the formation of peri- and intra-tumoural infiltrates. Chronic inflammation predisposes to cancer formation and progression, and it is likely that the chemokine system contributes to this process. In part, this may be a consequence of its ability to attract mononuclear cells to cancer sites, where they provide growth or angiogenic factors that enhance cancer development. However, accumulating evidence also points to a direct effect of chemokines on cancer cells that express chemokine receptors. In particular, some chemokines can activate anti-apoptotic pathways in these cells. By either mechanism, tumour cells that secrete and/or respond to chemokines would have a selective advantage. This provides another example of cancer's ability to co-opt host systems in order to promote tumour progression.

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