The role of myokines in cancer: crosstalk between skeletal muscle and tumor

Loss of skeletal muscle mass is a primary feature of sarcopenia and cancer cachexia. In cancer patients, tumor-derived inflammatory factors promote muscle atrophy via tumor-to-muscle effects, which is closely associated with poor prognosis. During the past decade, skeletal muscle has been considered to function as an autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine organ by releasing numerous myokines. The circulating myokines can modulate pathophysiology in the other organs, as well as in the tumor microenvironment, suggesting myokines function as muscle-to-tumor signaling molecules. Here, we highlight the roles of myokines in tumorigenesis, particularly in terms of crosstalk between skeletal muscle and tumor. Better understanding of tumor-to-muscle and muscle-to-tumor effects will shed light on novel strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.