Purpose of review: Tumor growth elicits antigen-specific cytotoxic as well as immune suppressive responses. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a key immune-suppressive cytokine produced by regulatory T-cells and by helper T-cells. Here, we review pleiotropic functions of IL-10 that impact the immune pathology of cancer.
Recent findings: The role of IL-10 in cancer has become less certain with the knowledge of its immune stimulatory functions. IL-10 is needed for T-helper cell functions, T-cell immune surveillance, and suppression of cancer-associated inflammation. By promoting tumor-specific immune surveillance and hindering pathogenic inflammation, IL-10 is emerging as a key cytokine in the battle of the host against cancer.
Summary: IL-10 functions at the cross-roads of immune stimulation and immune suppression in cancer. Immunological mechanisms of action of IL-10 can be ultimately exploited to develop novel and effective cancer therapies.