IL-18 in Regulation of Antitumor Immune Response and Clinical Application



Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a member of the IL-1 family. Since IL-18 has been identified as an IFN-γ-inducing factor, its role in the immune response related to IFN-γ function has been widely investigated. IFN-γ is one of the Th1 cytokines, which enhances cell-mediated immune response such as macrophage and cytotoxic T cell activation. In addition, NK cell activity is activated by IFN-γ. For those reasons, IL-18 has been studied as a cytokine involved in host defense especially in killing intracellular organisms. Furthermore, NK cell activity and Th1 response are crucial in tumor cell surveillance and elimination so the application of IL-18 for cancer immunotherapy has been widely investigated. Currently, IL-18 has been known to play roles not only in cancer and defense against infection but also in pathologies of various inflammatory diseases. However, this review will gather information on IL-18 functions and applications focusing only on its role in anticancer immune response. Studies using IL-18, alone or in combination with other cytokines or proteins, have provided promising results for cancer immunotherapy. However, various data implicating that IL-18 is involved in cancer progression have also been reported. In addition, the level of IL-18 is associated with poor prognosis in various cancers. Clinical application of IL-18 in cancer immunotherapy may not be as simple as giving IL-18 to any cancer patients and expecting enhancement of antitumor immunity.


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Natural Killer Cell Gastric Cancer Cell Natural Killer Cell Activity NKG2D Expression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by the higher commission of education, Thailand.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology, Faculty of MedicineChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

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