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Current status of interleukin-10 and regulatory T-cells in cancer

Dennis, Kristen L.a; Blatner, Nichole R.a; Gounari, Fotinib; Khazaie, Khashayarshaa

doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000006

Purpose of review Tumor growth elicits antigen-specific cytotoxic as well as immune suppressive responses. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a key immune-suppressive cytokine produced by regulatory T-cells and by helper T-cells. Here, we review pleiotropic functions of IL-10 that impact the immune pathology of cancer.

Recent findings The role of IL-10 in cancer has become less certain with the knowledge of its immune stimulatory functions. IL-10 is needed for T-helper cell functions, T-cell immune surveillance, and suppression of cancer-associated inflammation. By promoting tumor-specific immune surveillance and hindering pathogenic inflammation, IL-10 is emerging as a key cytokine in the battle of the host against cancer.

Summary IL-10 functions at the cross-roads of immune stimulation and immune suppression in cancer. Immunological mechanisms of action of IL-10 can be ultimately exploited to develop novel and effective cancer therapies.

aRobert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

bKnapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence to Khashayarsha Khazaie, PhD, DSc, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, 303 East Superior Street, Lurie 3-111, Chicago, IL, USA. Tel: +1 312 503 1903; 312 503 1901; fax: +1 312 503 0386; e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.