The Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators for transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway plays crucial roles in regulating apoptosis, proliferation, differentiation, and the inflammatory response. The JAK/STAT families are composed of four JAK family members and seven STAT family members. STAT3 plays a key role in inducing and maintaining a pro-carcinogenic inflammatory microenvironment. Recent evidence suggests that STAT3 regulates diverse biological functions in pathogenesis of diseases, such as infection and cancer. In the current review, we will summarize the research progress of STAT3 activation in infection and cancers. We highlight our recent study on the novel role of STAT3 in Salmonella infection-associated colon cancer. Infection with bacterial AvrA-expressing Salmonella activates the STAT3 pathway, which induces the β-catenin signals and enhances colonic tumorigenesis. STAT3 may be a promising target in developing prevention and treatment for infectious diseases and infection-associated cancers.
Keywords: Bacteria; Colon cancer; Infection; Inflammation; JAK; STAT; STAT3; STAT5; Salmonella; Virus.
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