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Protein Cell. 2014 Jan;5(1):12-20. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-0001-4. Epub 2014 Jan 29.

Inflammasomes in cancer: a double-edged sword.

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1
Department of Pathology, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 52242, USA.

Abstract

Chronic inflammatory responses have long been observed to be associated with various types of cancer and play decisive roles at different stages of cancer development. Inflammasomes, which are potent inducers of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 during inflammation, are large protein complexes typically consisting of a Nod-like receptor (NLR), the adapter protein ASC, and Caspase-1. During malignant transformation or cancer therapy, the inflammasomes are postulated to become activated in response to danger signals arising from the tumors or from therapy-induced damage to the tumor or healthy tissue. The activation of inflammasomes plays diverse and sometimes contrasting roles in cancer promotion and therapy depending on the specific context. Here we summarize the role of different inflammasome complexes in cancer progression and therapy. Inflammasome components and pathways may provide novel targets to treat certain types of cancer; however, using such agents should be cautiously evaluated due to the complex roles that inflammasomes and pro-inflammatory cytokines play in immunity.

PMID:
24474192
PMCID:
PMC3938856
DOI:
10.1007/s13238-013-0001-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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