Interleukin 10 in the tumor microenvironment: a target for anticancer immunotherapy

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Abstract

IL-10 is an immunomodulatory cytokine that is frequently upregulated in various types of cancer. The biological role of IL-10 in cancer is quite complex; however, the presence of IL-10 in advanced metastases and the positive correlation between serum IL-10 levels and progression of disease indicates a critical role of IL-10 in the tumor microenvironment. IL-10 has been shown to directly affect the function of antigen-presenting cells by inhibiting the expression of MHC and costimulatory molecules, which in turn induces immune suppression or tolerance. Additionally, IL-10 downregulates the expression of Th1 cytokines and induces T-regulatory responses. Taken together, a combination of IL-10 antagonism and immunostimulatory treatments such as cancer vaccines, Toll-like receptor agonists, Th1 cytokines, and chemokines would be a logical approach to enhance an antitumor immune response.

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