Symposium Paper

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 1426-1431

First online:

Immune enhancement and anti-tumour activity of IL-23

  • Jing-Sheng HaoAffiliated withResearch Center, The Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University
  • , Bao-En ShanAffiliated withResearch Center, The Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University Email author 

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Immunotherapy, including the use of cytokines and/or modified tumour cells immune stimulatory cytokines, can enhance the host anti-tumour immune responses. Interleukin-23 (IL-23) is a relative novel cytokine, which consists of a heterodimer of the IL-12p40 subunit and a novel p19 subunit. IL-23 has biological activities similar to but distinct from IL-12. IL-23 can enhance the proliferation of memory T cells and the production of IFN-γ, IL-12 and TNF-α from activated T cells. IL-23 activates macrophages to produce TNF-α and nitric oxide. IL-23 can also act directly on dendritic cells and possesses potent anti-tumour and anti-metastatic activity in murine models of cancer. IL-23 can also induce a lower level of IFN-γ production compared with that induced by IL-12. This may make IL-23 an alternative and safer therapeutic agent for cancer, as IL-12 administration can lead to severe toxic side effects because of the extremely high levels of IFN-γ it induces.


IL-23 Immune response Antitumour activity