Medical Definition of Tumor necrosis factor

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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

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