Inflammation: a driving force speeds cancer metastasis

Cell Cycle. 2009 Oct 15;8(20):3267-73. doi: 10.4161/cc.8.20.9699. Epub 2009 Oct 3.


It has been increasingly recognized that tumor microenvironment plays an important role in carcinogenesis. Inflammatory component is present and contributes to tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, metastasis and resistance to hormonal and chemotherapy. This review highlights the role of inflammation in the tumor metastasis. We focus on the function of proinflammatory factors, particularly cytokines during tumor metastasis. Understanding of the mechanisms by which inflammation contributes to metastasis will lead to innovative approach for treating cancer. How tumor spread remains an enigma and has received great attention in recent years, as metastasis is the major cause of cancer mortality. The complex and highly selective metastatic cascade not only depends on the intrinsic properties of tumor cells but also the microenvironment that they derive from. An inflammatory milieu consisting of infiltrated immune cells and their secretory cytokines, chemokines and growth factors contribute significantly to the invasive and metastatic traits of cancer cells. Here, we review new insights into the molecular pathways that link inflammation in the tumor microenvironment to metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / immunology*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • STAT Transcription Factors