Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is a major inflammatory cytokine that was first identified for its ability to induce rapid haemorrhagic necrosis of experimental cancers. When efforts to harness this anti-tumour activity in cancer treatments were underway, a paradoxical tumour-promoting role of TNF became apparent. Now that links between inflammation and cancer are appreciated, is TNF a target or a therapeutic in malignant disease — or both?
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The author would like to thank members of the Centre for Cancer and Inflammation at Barts and The London Medical School and also A. Mantovani for useful discussions and criticism.
F.B. has funding from Ortho Biotech Oncology, who make the anti-TNF antibody infliximab. They currently fund a 1-year postdoctoral position in her laboratory.
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Balkwill, F. Tumour necrosis factor and cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 9, 361–371 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2628
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