Recent discoveries involving the cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 have originated from diverse disciplines, revealing roles in biological processes that are likewise varied. The most novel findings suggest a connection between inflammation and diseases, such as insulin resistance associated with diabetes mellitus and cancer, which had not or only weakly been appreciated previously. The IL-6 pathway is one of the mechanisms linking inflammation to these disease processes. In addition, new evidence points toward IL-6 as one of the mediators coordinating the interface between adaptive and innate immunity. Here, we review the evidence linking IL-6 to inflammatory diseases and cancer.
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