Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Invest. 2009 Oct;119(10):3011-23. doi: 10.1172/JCI39065. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

The tumor-promoting actions of TNF-alpha involve TNFR1 and IL-17 in ovarian cancer in mice and humans.

Author information

Centre for Cancer and Inflammation, Institute of Cancer, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry,Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London, United Kingdom.


Cytokines orchestrate the tumor-promoting interplay between malignant cells and the immune system. In many experimental and human cancers, the cytokine TNF-alpha is an important component of this interplay, but its effects are pleiotropic and therefore remain to be completely defined. Using a mouse model of ovarian cancer in which either TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) signaling was manipulated in different leukocyte populations or TNF-alpha was neutralized by antibody treatment, we found that this inflammatory cytokine maintained TNFR1-dependent IL-17 production by CD4+ cells and that this led to myeloid cell recruitment into the tumor microenvironment and enhanced tumor growth. Consistent with this, in patients with advanced cancer, treatment with the TNF-alpha-specific antibody infliximab substantially reduced plasma IL-17 levels. Furthermore, expression of IL-1R and IL-23R was downregulated in CD4+CD25- cells isolated from ascites of ovarian cancer patients treated with infliximab. We have also shown that genes ascribed to the Th17 pathway map closely with the TNF-alpha signaling pathway in ovarian cancer biopsy samples, showing particularly high levels of expression of genes encoding IL-23, components of the NF-kappaB system, TGF-beta1, and proteins involved in neutrophil activation. We conclude that chronic production of TNF-alpha in the tumor microenvironment increases myeloid cell recruitment in an IL-17-dependent manner that contributes to the tumor-promoting action of this proinflammatory cytokine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Society for Clinical Investigation Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center