IL-6: An angiogenic target

During the past decade, incorporating anti-angiogenic agents into the therapeutic management of a myriad of malignancies has in certain cases made a significant impact on survival. However, the development of resistance to these drugs is inevitable and swift disease progression on their cessation often ensues. Hence, there is a drive to devise strategies that aim to enhance response to anti-angiogenic therapies by combining them with other targeted agents that facilitate evasion from resistance. The pleiotropic cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), exerts proangiogenic effects in the tumour microenvironment of several solid malignancies and there is emerging evidence that reveals significant relationships between IL-6 signalling and treatment failure with antibodies directed against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This review summarises the role of IL-6 in pivotal angiogenic processes and preclinical/clinical research to support the future introduction of anti-IL-6 therapies to be utilised either in combination with other anti-angiogenic drugs or as a salvage therapy for patients with diseases that become refractory to these approaches.

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