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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Dec;1836(2):296-303. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Interleukin 18: friend or foe in cancer.

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Struttura Semplice Dipartimentale Sperimentazione Animale, Istituto Nazionale per lo studio e la cura dei tumori "Fondazione Giovanni Pascale" - IRCCS, Italy; Istituto Endocrinologia e Oncologia Sperimentale - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Pansini, 80131 Naples, Italy. Electronic address:


In the last few years, the field of tumor immunology has significantly expanded and its boundaries, never particularly clear, have become less distinct. Although the immune system plays an important role in controlling tumor growth, it has also become clear that tumor growth can be promoted by inflammatory immune responses. A good example that exemplifies the ambiguous role of the immune system in cancer progression is represented by interleukin 18 (IL-18) that was first identified as an interferon-γ-inducing factor (IGIF) involved in T helper type-1 (Th1) immune response. The expression and secretion of IL-18 have been observed in various cell types from immune cells to circulating cancer cells. In this review we highlighted the multiple roles played by IL-18 in immune regulation, cancer progression and angiogenesis and the clinical potential that may result from such understanding.


Immune regulation; Tumor immunology

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