Antitumor effects of interleukin-12 in pre-clinical and early clinical studies (Review)

Int J Mol Med. 1999 May;3(5):537-44. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.3.5.537.


Interleukin-12 (IL-12) previously called cytotoxic lymphocyte maturation factor (CLMF) or NK cell stimulatory factor (NKSF) is a recently characterized heterodimeric cytokine composed of two subunits. Although identified no more than 10 years ago IL-12 has already proved efficacious in numerous pre-clinical tumor immunotherapy studies. Animal studies revealed that IL-12 has powerful antitumor, anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic activities and seems to be less toxic than other immunotherapeutics such as interferons or IL-2. A number of pre-clinical studies with IL-12 prompted the evaluation of this cytokine in the treatment of human cancers. Results of phase I and early phase II clinical trials have already been reported and these are described here together with a brief discussion concerning IL-12-related toxicities and potential methods of their prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Interleukin-12 / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-12 / therapeutic use*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Interleukin-12