TNF-α in cancer treatment: Molecular insights, antitumor effects, and clinical utility

Remco Van Horssen, Timo L.M. Ten Hagen, Alexander M.M. Eggermont

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikel recenserenpeer review

624 Citaten (Scopus)


Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), isolated 30 years ago, is a multifunctional cytokine playing a key role in apoptosis and cell survival as well as in inflammation and immunity. Although named for its antitumor properties, TNF has been implicated in a wide spectrum of other diseases. The current use of TNF in cancer is in the regional treatment of locally advanced soft tissue sarcomas and metastatic melanomas and other irresectable tumors of any histology to avoid amputation of the limb. It has been demonstrated in the isolated limb perfusion setting that TNF-α acts synergistically with cytostatic drugs. The interaction of TNF-α with TNF receptor 1 and receptor 2 (TNFR-1, TNFR-2) activates several signal transduction pathways, leading to the diverse functions of TNF-α. The signaling molecules of TNFR-1 have been elucidated quite well, but regulation of the signaling remains unclear. Besides these molecular insights, laboratory experiments in the past decade have shed light upon TNF-α action during tumor treatment. Besides extravasation of erythrocytes and lymphocytes, leading to hemorrhagic necrosis, TNF-α targets the tumor-associated vasculature (TAV) by inducing hyperpermeability and destruction of the vascular lining. This results in an immediate effect of selective accumulation of cytostatic drugs inside the tumor and a late effect of destruction of the tumor vasculature. In this review, covering TNF-α from the molecule to the clinic, we provide an overview of the use of TNF-α in cancer starting with molecular insights into TNFR-1 signaling and cellular mechanisms of the antitumor activities of TNF-α and ending with clinical response. In addition, possible factors modulating TNF-α actions are discussed.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)397-408
Aantal pagina's12
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
StatusGepubliceerd - apr. 2006
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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