Endogenous damage-associated molecular pattern molecules at the crossroads of inflammation and cancer

Neoplasia. 2009 Jul;11(7):615-28. doi: 10.1593/neo.09284.


Inflammatory mediators play important roles in the development and progression of cancer. Cellular stress, damage, inflammation, and necrotic cell death cause release of endogenous damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) molecules or alarmins, which alert the host of danger by triggering immune responses and activating repair mechanisms through their interaction with pattern recognition receptors. Recent studies show that abnormal persistence of these molecules in chronic inflammation and in tumor microenvironments underlies carcinogenesis and tumor progression, indicating that DAMP molecules and their receptors could provide novel targets for therapy. This review focuses on the role of DAMP molecules high-mobility group box 1 and S100 proteins in inflammation, tumor growth, and early metastatic events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • HMGB1 Protein / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • HMGB1 Protein
  • Inflammation Mediators