Interleukin-1--a major pleiotropic cytokine in tumor-host interactions

Semin Cancer Biol. 2002 Aug;12(4):277-90. doi: 10.1016/s1044-579x(02)00014-7.


Interleukin-1 (IL-1) represents a family of two agonistic proteins, IL-1alpha and IL-1beta, that are pleiotropic and affect hemopoiesis, inflammation, and immunity. In the context of the producing cell, IL-1beta is solely active in its secreted form, whereas IL-1alpha is active as an intracellular precursor, as a membrane-associated cytokine and to a lesser extent as a secreted molecule. IL-1 is abundant at tumor sites, where it may not only affect the growth and invasiveness of malignant cells, but where it may also induce antitumor immunity. Here we review the effects of microenvironmental and tumor cell-associated IL-1 on malignant processes, in experimental tumor models and in cancer patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interleukin-1*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • Interleukin-1