Cellular and molecular pathways linking inflammation and cancer

Immunobiology. 2009;214(9-10):761-77. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2009.06.014. Epub 2009 Jul 17.


Several experimental and epidemiological evidence indicate that, irrespective of the trigger for the development (chronic infection/inflammation or genetic alteration), a "smouldering" inflammation is associated with the most of, if not all, tumours and supports their progression. Several evidence have highlighted that tumours promote a constant influx of myelomonocytic cells that express inflammatory mediators supporting pro-tumoral functions. Myelomonocytic cells are key orchestrators of cancer-related inflammation associated with proliferation and survival of malignant cells, subversion of adaptive immune response, angiogenesis, stroma remodelling and metastasis formation. Although the connection between inflammation and cancer is unequivocal the mechanistic basis of such association are largely unknown. Recent advances in the understanding of the cellular and molecular pathways involved in cancer-related inflammation as well as their potential relevance as diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets are herein discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Precancerous Conditions / immunology
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, TIE-2
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • NF-kappa B
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, TIE-2
  • Tek protein, mouse