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Hum Pathol. 1993 Oct;24(10):1040-57.

Cytokines in malignant lymphomas: review and prospective evaluation.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.


Cytokines play important roles in the pathogenesis of lymphomas. Cytokines either can be produced or exert effects on neoplastic or reactive cells. The secretion of cytokines can provide growth advantages for tumor cells in either an autocrine or a paracrine fashion. An elevated serum or tissue level of cytokines can contribute to the clinical and histopathologic alterations associated with malignant lymphomas. The effects of cytokines on the histopathologic changes are most noticeable in Hodgkin's disease (HD). The malignant (Hodgkin's-Reed-Sternberg) cells in HD have been shown to secrete interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-5, IL-6, IL-9, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, macrophage colony-stimulating factor, transforming growth factor-beta, and, less frequently, IL-4 and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. These cytokines may be responsible for the increased cellular reaction and fibrosis observed in tissues involved by HD and for the immunosuppression in patients with HD. In contrast to Hodgkin's-Reed-Sternberg cells, most non-HD lymphoma cells do not produce cytokines in excess amounts. Exceptions include T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma (IL-4), angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy-like T-cell lymphoma with plasmacytosis and hypergammaglobulinemia (IL-6), anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (IL-9), polymorphic immunocytoma (IL-6), and immunoblastic lymphoma (IBL) (IL-6). Some cytokines are involved in the unique cellular reactions in each of these types of lymphoma. For example, IL-4 is responsible for the T-cell reaction in T-cell-rich B-cell lymphoma, while IL-6 is accountable for the plasma cell reaction in angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy-type T-cell lymphoma. Others may be directly involved in the tumor cell growth or differentiation. For instance, IL-9 may be important for the autocrine proliferation of anaplastic large cell lymphoma, whereas IL-6 is essential for plasmacytoid differentiation in polymorphic immunocytoma. Further studies of the roles of cytokines in lymphomas may lead to major advances in the understanding of the molecular processes involved in the histopathogenesis of malignant lymphomas. Elucidation of the autocrine or paracrine function of cytokines also may lead to new approaches to a rational intervention in these disease processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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