Tumour necrosis factor and cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 May;9(5):361-71. doi: 10.1038/nrc2628. Epub 2009 Apr 3.


Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is a major inflammatory cytokine that was first identified for its ability to induce rapid haemorrhagic necrosis of experimental cancers. When efforts to harness this anti-tumour activity in cancer treatments were underway, a paradoxical tumour-promoting role of TNF became apparent. Now that links between inflammation and cancer are appreciated, is TNF a target or a therapeutic in malignant disease -- or both?

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • DNA Damage
  • Endotoxins / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / therapeutic use


  • Endotoxins
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha