Reference work entry


Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a gamma-C (γC) cytokine that stimulates the differentiation and proliferation of T, B, and natural killer (NK) cells. Many clinical and preclinical studies have focused on exploiting memory CD8 T cells and NK cells to treat cancer due to their ability to recognize tumor cells, be rapidly activated, and produce many antitumor cytokines, cytotoxic granules, and surface ligands that promote cell death. Memory CD8 T and NK cells respond robustly to IL-15 compared to naive and effector T cells and are thought to be the primary target of IL-15’s function in vivo. In response to IL-15 or therapeutic soluble IL-15/IL15 receptor complexes, CD8 T cells and NK cells increase production of cytotoxic granules and migratory capacity which promotes antitumor immunity. Thus, IL-15 plays a critical role in the immune system’s ability to eliminate tumor cells and has proved to be a promising target for cancer immunotherapy.


Interleukin-15 Metastatic renal cell carcinoma Malignant melanoma Cytokine therapy Adoptive cell therapy NK cells T cells 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Immunology-MicrobiologyRush University-Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of ImmunobiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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