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J Exp Med. 2009 Jul 6;206(7):1457-64. doi: 10.1084/jem.20090207. Epub 2009 Jun 29.

IL-17 can promote tumor growth through an IL-6-Stat3 signaling pathway.

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Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology, Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


Although the Th17 subset and its signature cytokine, interleukin (IL)-17A (IL-17), are implicated in certain autoimmune diseases, their role in cancer remains to be further explored. IL-17 has been shown to be elevated in several types of cancer, but how it might contribute to tumor growth is still unclear. We show that growth of B16 melanoma and MB49 bladder carcinoma is reduced in IL-17(-/-) mice but drastically accelerated in IFN-gamma(-/-) mice, contributed to by elevated intratumoral IL-17, indicating a role of IL-17 in promoting tumor growth. Adoptive transfer studies and analysis of the tumor microenvironment suggest that CD4(+) T cells are the predominant source of IL-17. Enhancement of tumor growth by IL-17 involves direct effects on tumor cells and tumor-associated stromal cells, which bear IL-17 receptors. IL-17 induces IL-6 production, which in turn activates oncogenic signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) 3, up-regulating prosurvival and proangiogenic genes. The Th17 response can thus promote tumor growth, in part via an IL-6-Stat3 pathway.

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