Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a cytokine with multiple biologic activities. Since its first description in 1972, significant work has been done, leading to an understanding of the biology of IL-1, which plays a central role in many important functions of the immune system. The biologic activities of IL-1 make it an attractive factor for use in clinical oncology, both as an antitumor agent and for the hematologic recovery of cancer patients receiving other forms of therapy. In this review the biologic effects of IL-1 are summarized. The possible involvement of IL-1 in the pathogenesis of some diseases is reviewed. Future prospects for the use of IL-1 in the treatment of malignancies are discussed.
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