Immunity, inflammation and cancer: a leading role for adenosine

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Dec;13(12):842-57. doi: 10.1038/nrc3613. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


Cancer is a complex disease that is dictated by both cancer cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic processes. Adenosine is an ancient extracellular signalling molecule that can regulate almost all aspects of tissue function. As such, several studies have recently highlighted a crucial role for adenosine signalling in regulating the various aspects of cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic processes of cancer development. This Review critically discusses the role of adenosine and its receptors in regulating the complex interplay among immune, inflammatory, endothelial and cancer cells during the course of neoplastic disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / immunology


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Adenosine