insight

Nature 420, 860-867 (19 December 2002) | doi:10.1038/nature01322

Inflammation and cancer

Lisa M. Coussens1,2,4 & Zena Werb3,4

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Recent data have expanded the concept that inflammation is a critical component of tumour progression. Many cancers arise from sites of infection, chronic irritation and inflammation. It is now becoming clear that the tumour microenvironment, which is largely orchestrated by inflammatory cells, is an indispensable participant in the neoplastic process, fostering proliferation, survival and migration. In addition, tumour cells have co-opted some of the signalling molecules of the innate immune system, such as selectins, chemokines and their receptors for invasion, migration and metastasis. These insights are fostering new anti-inflammatory therapeutic approaches to cancer development.

  1. Cancer Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143 USA
  2. Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143 USA
  3. Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143 USA
  4. UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143 USA
  5. Email: coussens@cc.ucsf.edu
    Email: zena@itsa.ucsf.edu