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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2006 Oct;17(5):325-37. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Cytokines in breast cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56126 Pisa, Italy.


In recent decades many advances have occurred in the understanding of the role of cytokines in breast cancer. New signalling pathways of interleukin (IL)-1 family, IL-6, IL-11, IL-18, interferons (IFNs) and interferon regulatory factors 1 (IRF-1) and 2 (IRF-2) have been found within tumour microenvironments and in metastatic sites. Some cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-11, TGFbeta) stimulate while others (IL-12, IL-18, IFNs) inhibit breast cancer proliferation and/or invasion. Similarly, high circulating levels of some cytokines seem to be favourable (soluble IL-2R) while others are unfavourable (IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-18, gp130) prognostic indicators. So far IL-2, IFNalpha, IFNbeta and occasionally IFNgamma, IL-6, IL-12 have been the cytokines used for anti tumour treatment of advanced breast cancer either to induce or increase hormone sensitivity and/or to stimulate cellular immunity. Disappointing results occurred in most trials; however, two long-term pilot studies suggest that IL-2 and IFNbeta, when used appropriately can have a positive effect on clinical benefit and overall survival of patients with minimal residual disease after chemotherapy or with disseminated disease controlled by conventional endocrine therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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