Tumor necrosis factor: One of multiple proteins capable of inducing necrosis (death) of tumor cells that possess a wide range of proinflammatory actions. Abbreviated TNF. TNF is a multifunctional cytokine with effects on lipid metabolism, coagulation, insulin resistance, and the function of endothelial cells lining blood vessels. Drugs that block the action of TNF have been shown to be beneficial in reducing the inflammation in inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017