Tumorigenesis is a multistep process that requires constitutive cell division, growth, and survival. One strategy used by cancer cells to upregulate growth and survival pathways is through autocrine production of growth and survival factors. Two recent papers by Gao et al. and Sansone et al. published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation outline the importance of autocrine interleukin 6 (IL-6) in lung and breast cancers and implicate IL-6 as an important activator of oncogenic STAT3 in lung adenocarcinomas and of Jagged-1/Notch signaling in breast tumor mammospheres.