Emerging cytokine networks in colorectal cancer

Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Oct;15(10):615-29. doi: 10.1038/nri3896. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Cytokine networks are crucial aspects of tumour immunology, particularly for colorectal cancer (CRC), in which inflammation and antitumour immunity are key determinants of disease progression. In this Review, we highlight new insights into the functions of well-known cytokines in CRC, describe recently discovered roles for a growing number of novel players, and emphasize the complexity and therapeutic implications of the cytokine milieu. We also discuss how cancer mutations and epigenetic adaptations influence the oncogenic potential of cytokines, a relatively unexplored area that could yield crucial insights into tumour immunology and facilitate the effective application of cytokine-modulatory therapies for CRC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators