Members of the IL-6 cytokine family are involved in a variety of biological responses, including the immune response, inflammation, hematopoiesis, and oncogenesis by regulating cell growth, survival, and differentiation. These cytokines use gp130 as a common receptor subunit. The binding of ligand to gp130 activates the JAK/STAT signal transduction pathway, where STAT3 plays a central role in transmitting the signals from the membrane to the nucleus. STAT3 is essential for gp130-mediated cell survival and G1 to S cell-cycle-transition signals. Both c-myc and pim have been identified as target genes of STAT3 and together can compensate for STAT3 in cell survival and cell-cycle transition. STAT3 is also required for gp130-mediated maintenance of the pluripotential state of proliferating embryonic stem cells and for the gp130-induced macrophage differentiation of M1 cells. Furthermore, STAT3 regulates cell movement, such as leukocyte, epidermal cell, and keratinocyte migration. STAT3 also appears to regulate B cell differentiation into antibody-forming plasma cells. Since the IL-6/gp130/STAT3 signaling pathway is involved in both B cell growth and differentiation into plasma cells it is likely to play a central role in the generation of plasma cell neoplasias. Oncogene (2000).