It is well established that interactions between tumor cells and the host tissue stroma play a key role in determining whether and how any given solid malignancy will develop. In most cases, tumor cells hijack stromal cell functions for their own benefit and ultimately dictate the rules of engagement to the host tissue microenvironment. However, the contribution of the different stromal cell components to tumor growth remains to be clarified. Because most solid tumors are accompanied by a local inflammatory response, it has long been thought that inflammation and carcinogenesis are related. If formal proof that cancer can be initiated by inflammation in the absence of exogenous carcinogens is still lacking, there is abundant evidence that the inflammatory response can play a central role in modulating tumor growth and progression. This review will discuss some of the mechanisms whereby inflammation can both enhance and inhibit tumor growth.