Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 91, Issue 12, pp 1355–1368

The role of interleukin-6 in the evolution of ovarian cancer: clinical and prognostic implications—a review



An increasing number of studies emphasize the role of inflammation and metabolic changes in the induction of cancer-related symptoms, which can affect cancer evolution and prognosis. These changes result from the interactions between the tumor and the host. To date, however, markers of this peculiar condition, which can help clinicians to manage patients better, have still not been identified with certainty. Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) appears to be particularly appropriate to study these interactions because of its biological characteristics, its peculiar evolution, and the relevant scientific evidence available. Immunosuppression, anemia, depression, and weight loss affect the evolution of EOC and appear to be directly related to the immune-metabolic changes. In light of the aforementioned evidence, our review will focus on interleukin-6 (IL-6) and its role as potential marker of the patients’ immune-metabolic status, to better monitor disease outcome and identify the most appropriate therapeutic strategy in EOC. Furthermore, leptin will be discussed as a sensor of the changes of energy metabolism induced by IL-6.


Ovarian cancer Interleukin-6 Leptin Cachexia Quality of life Anemia 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gynecologic Oncology“A. Businco” Hospital, Regional Referral Center for Cancer DiseaseCagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medical Sciences “Mario Aresu”University of CagliariCagliariItaly

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