Inserm U753, Laboratoire d’immunologie des tumeurs humaines : interactions effecteurs cytotoxiques-système tumoral, Institut Gustave-Roussy, PR1, IFR 54, Villejuif, Département d’anesthésie, Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif, Département de chirurgie, Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF; formerly known as TNF-α), isolated 30 years ago, is a pleiotropic cytokine playing a role in apoptosis and cell survival as well as in inflammation and immunity. Although named for its antitumor properties, TNF-α has been implicated in a wide spectrum of diseases including chronic inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer. This review provides an overview of current knowledge of TNF-signalling, its physiological implication in inflammation and its paradoxical role in tumor process. We review the experimental and clinical advances in TNF-based antitumor therapy underlying the complex and sometimes conflicting relationship between this cytokine, cancer and anticancer therapy.