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Inflammation and cancer: macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)--the potential missing link.Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was the original cytokine, described almost 50 years ago and has since been revealed to be an important player in pro-inflammatory diseases. Recent work using MIF mouse models has revealed new roles for MIF. In this review, we present an increasing body of evidence implicating the key pro-inflammatory cytokine MIF in specific biological activities related directly to cancer growth or contributing towards a microenvironment favouring cancer progression.