Dangerous liaisons between interleukin-6 cytokine and toll-like receptor families: a potent combination in inflammation and cancer

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2013 Jun;24(3):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 May 3.


The potent pro-inflammatory actions of members of the interleukin (IL)-6 cytokine and toll-like receptor (TLR) families have been implicated in numerous inflammatory disorders, as well as inflammation-associated cancers. It is fast becoming apparent that a hallmark of many such inflammatory-related diseases is the overlapping deregulated expression of members of each family, and the consequent augmented activation of shared signaling pathways. Here, we review the molecular basis by which the IL-6 cytokine and TLR family signaling networks are regulated, and integrate recent advances exploring the intimate cross-regulation of these two families which may provide the foundation for the future development of therapeutics to target chronic inflammation-associated diseases, including cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; IL-6 family cytokines; Inflammation; STATs; TLRs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Interleukin-10