Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Tumor Necrosis Factor

  • Wen-Ming Chu
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_6040-8



The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family includes TNF alpha (TNFα) and TNF beta (TNFβ), which are among the most important cytokines involved in systemic inflammation, tumor lysis, and initiation of the acute-phase reaction.



More than 100 years ago, Dr. Williams B. Coley used crude bacterial extracts to treat tumor patients. He found that the bacterial extracts had an ability to induce tumor necrosis. While tumors were regressive, patients receiving bacterial extracts also suffered from a severe systematic inflammatory reaction. One of the major inflammatory stimulators now known to cause this reaction was identified in 1975, when a protein factor in the serum of endotoxin-treated animals was found to cause lysis in tumor cells and was therefore named “tumor necrosis factor.” In 1984, TNF gene was isolated and characterized. About the same time, another gene...


Tumor Necrosis Factor Death Domain Bacterial Extract Ubiquitin Chain Systematic Inflammatory Reaction 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Biology ProgramUniversity of Hawaii Cancer CenterHonoluluUSA