Cancer-related inflammation, the seventh hallmark of cancer: links to genetic instability

Carcinogenesis. 2009 Jul;30(7):1073-81. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgp127. Epub 2009 May 25.


Inflammatory conditions in selected organs increase the risk of cancer. An inflammatory component is present also in the microenvironment of tumors that are not epidemiologically related to inflammation. Recent studies have begun to unravel molecular pathways linking inflammation and cancer. In the tumor microenvironment, smoldering inflammation contributes to proliferation and survival of malignant cells, angiogenesis, metastasis, subversion of adaptive immunity, reduced response to hormones and chemotherapeutic agents. Recent data suggest that an additional mechanism involved in cancer-related inflammation (CRI) is induction of genetic instability by inflammatory mediators, leading to accumulation of random genetic alterations in cancer cells. In a seminal contribution, Hanahan and Weinberg [(2000) Cell, 100, 57-70] identified the six hallmarks of cancer. We surmise that CRI represents the seventh hallmark.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Genomic Instability / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Transcription Factors