Common gamma chain cytokines in combinatorial immune strategies against cancer

Immunol Lett. 2016 Jan;169:61-72. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


Common γ chain (γC) cytokines, namely IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-15, and IL-21 are important for the proliferation, differentiation, and survival of lymphocytes that display antitumor activity, thus stimulating considerable interest for the use of cytokines in cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we will focus on the γC cytokines that demonstrate the greatest potential for immunotherapy, IL-2, IL-7, IL-15, and IL-21. We will briefly cover their biological function, potential applications in cancer therapy, and update on their use in combinatorial immune strategies for eradicating tumors and hematopoietic malignancies.

Keywords: Cancer immunotherapy; Gamma chain cytokines; Hematopoietic malignancies; Immunostimulation; Solid cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit / metabolism*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit