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Keywords:

  • interleukin-6;
  • oral diseases;
  • periodontitis;
  • lichen planus;
  • oral cancer;
  • Sjögren’s syndrome

Oral Diseases (2012) 18, 236–243

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleomorphic cytokine involved in a number of physiologic and pathologic processes including response to trauma and infection and development and progression of inflammation and malignancy. IL-6 is emerging as an important mediator and novel therapeutic target for chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. The present study reviews the available evidence regarding the association between IL-6 and a range of oral diseases including infections (periodontal disease and endodontic infections), immunologically mediated disorders (oral lichen planus and Sjögren’s syndrome) and malignancy (oral cancer and precancer). The role of common genetic variants of IL-6 in determining individual susceptibility to certain oral diseases, as well as novel therapeutic strategies based on IL-6 inhibition are also discussed.