Background: Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is a pleiotropic cytokine that plays an essential role
in Th1-type immune response against cancer, a condition where cells in a particular part of the body
grow and reproduce uncontrollably.
Methods: In this review, we describe the structural features of IL-12 family and their roles involved
Results: IL-12 has been demonstrated to regulate both innate (natural killer cells) and adaptive (cytotoxic
T lymphocytes) immunities in cancer therapy. This cytokine has been proposed as a potential
new agent to be developed in cancer immunotherapy studies due to its impressive antitumor effects
in many animal models. In addition, the antitumor activity of IL-12 can be efficiently induced by itself
as well as significantly improved by its combination with various treatment modalities including
antibodies, antiangiogenic agents, radiotherapy, adoptive therapy, and anti-tumor vaccines.
Conclusion: IL-12 has potential roles in anticancer therapy. The advantages of using immunotherapeutic
approaches in clinical trials have been reported recently. However, the mechanisms to underlay
the immunoregulation and antitumor activities of IL-12 itself, as well as its combination, remain