Interleukin 1 (IL-1) has long been known for its pleiotropic effects on inflammation that plays a complex, and sometimes contrasting, role in different stages of cancer development. As a major proinflammatory cytokine, IL-1β is mainly expressed by innate immune cells. IL-1α, however, is expressed by various cell types under physiological and pathological conditions. IL-1R1 is the main receptor for both ligands and is expressed by various cell types, including innate and adaptive immune cell types, epithelial cells, endothelial cells, adipocytes, chondrocytes, fibroblasts, etc. IL-1 and IL-1R1 receptor interaction leads to a set of common signaling pathways, mainly the NF-kB and MAP kinase pathways, as a result of complex positive and negative regulations. The variety of cell types with IL-1R1 expression dictates the role of IL-1 signaling at different stages of cancer, which under certain circumstances leads to contrasting roles in tumor development. Recent availability of IL-1R1 conditional knockout mouse model has made it possible to dissect the role of IL-1/IL-1R1 signaling transduction in different cell types within the tumor microenvironment. This chapter will focus on the role of IL-1/IL-1R1 in different cell types within the tumor microenvironment and discuss the potential of targeting this pathway in cancer therapy.
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