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Cancer Cell Int. 2011 Sep 23;11:33. doi: 10.1186/1475-2867-11-33.

IFN-γ, IL-17 and TGF-β involvement in shaping the tumor microenvironment: The significance of modulating such cytokines in treating malignant solid tumors.

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Department of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Petra University, Amman, Jordan.


Multiple innate and adaptive immune effector cells and molecules partake in the recognition and destruction of cancer cells to protect against growing tumors, a concept that is known as cancer immunosurveillance. Unfortunately, cancer cells are capable of avoiding this process by immunoselection of poorly immunogenic tumor cells variants along with subversion of the immune system and thus shaping both the tumor and its microenvironment. Cytokines represent part of the complex pattern of the immune response which can assist the development of cancer as well as to eliminate it. Simultaneously, a large number of cytokines may be involved in the complex interactions between host and tumor cells where this dynamic cross-talk, between tumors and the immune system, can either regulate tumor growth or tumor growth, invasion and metastasis take place. In this review, we are stressing on the interface between infiltrated immune cells and tumor cells with the emphasis on the bidirectional activities of specific cytokines: IFN-γ, TGF-β and IL-17 within the tumor microenvironment and their role in shaping it. In addition, the significance of modulating such cytokines in favor of anti-tumor response is discussed and merits the use of mixture of targeted modulators to overcome the network complexity of cytokines in the tumor microenvironment.

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