The dual effects of interleukin-18 in tumor progression

Cell Mol Immunol. 2007 Oct;4(5):329-35.


Interleukin-18 (IL-18) was discovered as an interferon-gamma-inducing factor and had a critical role in inflammatory and immune response. It stimulates natural killer (NK) and T cells and enhances Th1 immune response. These activated immune cells eliminate cancer cells and virus-infected cells effectively. However, IL-18 has also been found to promote tumor progression. Higher expression or secretion level of IL-18 is detected in various cancer cells in comparison with normal control, and IL-18 is able to induce angiogenesis, migration/metastasis, proliferation and immune escape. These dual effects and the mechanism of IL-18 need to be investigated further as it relates to cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-18 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-18 / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Tumor Escape / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-18