Table of Contents
Chemotherapy Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 490804, 11 pages
Review Article

Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines: Important Immunoregulatory Factors Contributing to Chemotherapy-Induced Gastrointestinal Mucositis

1School of Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
2School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia

Received 9 May 2012; Revised 25 July 2012; Accepted 25 July 2012

Academic Editor: Vassilios A. Georgoulias

Copyright © 2012 Masooma Sultani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


“Mucositis” is the clinical term used to describe ulceration and damage of the mucous membranes of the entire gastrointestinal tract (GIT) following cytotoxic cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation resulting in both a significant clinical and financial burden. Chemotherapeutic drugs cause upregulation of stress response genes including NFκB, that in turn upregulate the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). These proinflammatory cytokines are responsible for initiating inflammation in response to tissue injury. Anti-inflammatory cytokines and specific cytokine inhibitors are also released to limit the sustained or excessive inflammatory reactions. In the past decade, intensive research has determined the role of proinflammatory cytokines in development of mucositis. However, a large gap remains in the knowledge of the role of anti-inflammatory cytokines in the setting of chemotherapy-induced mucositis. This critical paper will highlight current literature available relating to what is known regarding the development of mucositis, including the molecular mechanisms involved in inducing inflammation particularly with respect to the role of proinflammatory cytokines, as well as provide a detailed discussion of why it is essential to consider extensive research in the role of anti-inflammatory cytokines in chemotherapy-induced mucositis so that effective targeted treatment strategies can be developed.