TNF-alpha in promotion and progression of cancer

Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2006 Sep;25(3):409-16. doi: 10.1007/s10555-006-9005-3.


Tumour necrosis factor alpha is a member of the TNF/TNFR cytokine superfamily. In common with other family members, TNF-alpha is involved in maintenance and homeostasis of the immune system, inflammation and host defence. However, there is a 'dark side' to this powerful cytokine; it is now clear that, especially in middle and old age, TNF-alpha is involved in pathological processes such as chronic inflammation, autoimmunity and, in apparent contradiction to its name, malignant disease. This article will discuss the involvement of TNF-alpha in the inflammatory network that contributes to all stages of the malignant process, and consider the possibility that TNF-alpha may be a target for cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha