Emerging data on the role of inflammation and the immune system in the development, growth, and spread of breast tumors have focused increased attention on the role cytokines such as interleukin and transforming growth factor-β play in breast cancer initiation, protection, and metastasis.

A comprehensive overview of this new knowledge and its potential to lead to novel therapeutic approaches is presented in a Review article in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research.

"The Role of Cytokines in Breast Cancer Development and Progression", coauthored by Marcella Esquivel-Velázquez and colleagues from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (México City) and Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (Morelos, Mexico), reviews the latest evidence to support a regulatory role for cytokines (proteins that mediate communication between cells of the immune system) in breast cancer and other cancer-related disorders. The article explores the link between cytokines, inflammation, and obesity, which is a significant risk factor for breast cancer.

Other topics include the association between cytokines and blood vessel formation, breast cancer metastasis, immunosuppression and the ability of breast cancer cells to evade the immune system, and the potential role of cytokines as prognostic factors.