Chemokines: key players in cancer

Curr Med Res Opin. 2003;19(6):557-64. doi: 10.1185/030079903125002216.


Chemokines are a family of low molecular weight (8-10 kDa) pro-inflammatory cytokines, which bind to G-protein coupled receptors. Their primary function is chemoattraction and activation of specific leucocytes in various immuno-inflammatory responses. However, new research suggests that they are key players in cancer being involved in the neoplastic transformation of cells, promotion of aberrant angiogenesis, tumour clonal expansion and growth, passage through the extracellular matrix (ECM), intravasation into blood vessels or lymphatics and the non-random homing of tumour metastasis to specific sites. In view of the increasing significance of chemokines and their receptors in cancers of a variety of types, manipulation of this signalling pathway may be important in the development of new anticancer agents. This review provides an overview of recent research advances in this field and examines the potential therapeutic benefits future developments may bring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Chemokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic


  • Chemokines