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Cytokines are signaling proteins which are produced by white blood cells. They help mediate and regulate immune responses, inflammation, and the formation of new blood cells (hematopoiesis).

There are many different types of cytokines; some of which are synthesised for use in the treatment of cancer (particulaly Interferon Alpha and Interleukin 2. Also, a class of cytokines called hematopoietic growth factors, can be used to promote the production of blood cells to counteract some of the cytotoxic side effects of chemotherapy.

"Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner." (Source: MeSH)

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Web Resources: Cytokines
Latest Research Publications
Interferon Alpha
Interleukin 2 (Aldesleukin)
Tumor Necrosis Factors

Web Resources: Cytokines (6 links)

Latest Research Publications

Hadj-Ahmed M, Ghali RM, Bouaziz H, et al.
Transforming growth factor beta 1 polymorphisms and haplotypes associated with breast cancer susceptibility: A case-control study in Tunisian women.
Tumour Biol. 2019; 41(8):1010428319869096 [PubMed] Related Publications
Variable association of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) in breast cancer (BC) pathogenesis was documented, and the contribution of specific

Hou BJ, Du Y, Gu SX, et al.
General anesthesia combined with epidural anesthesia maintaining appropriate anesthesia depth may protect excessive production of inflammatory cytokines and stress hormones in colon cancer patients during and after surgery.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(30):e16610 [PubMed] Related Publications
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influences of varied anesthetic methods and depths on inflammatory cytokines and stress hormone levels in radical operation among colon cancer patients during perioperative period.A total of 120 patients were collected in the study and randomly divided into 4 groups, A: general anesthesia + Narcotrend D1, B: general anesthesia + Narcotrend D2, C: general anesthesia + epidural anesthesia + Narcotrend D1, D: general anesthesia + epidural anesthesia + Narcotrend D2. The levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, cortisol (Cor), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and endothelin-1 (ET-1) were measured adopting commercial kits before anesthesia (T0), 4 hours after surgery (T1), 24 hours after surgery (T2), and 72 hours after surgery (T3).There was no significant difference in basic clinical characteristics among the groups. In comparison with group A, B and C, group D showed significantly lower levels of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, Cor, ACTH, and ET-1 at T1 and T2 (all, P < .05). Significantly higher levels of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, Cor, and ACTH were detected at T1 and T2 than those at T0 (all, P < .05), whereas, at T3, the levels of inflammatory cytokines and stress hormones were all decreased near to preoperation ones.General anesthesia combined with epidural anesthesia at Narcotrend D2 depth plays an important role in reducing immune and stress response in patients with colon cancer from surgery to 24 hours after surgery.

El-Gendy SG, El-Sabaa EM, El-Feky MA, et al.
Plasma Levels of Interleukin-35 and its Association with Clinical Features of Breast Cancer Patients at Assiut University Hospitals.
Egypt J Immunol. 2019; 26(1):121-128 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin-35 (IL-35), is a recently identified cytokine that belongs to the IL-12 family, it is a potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine which was first recognized to be produced by regulatory T cells (Tregs) cells, and recently was found to be produced by regulatory B cells (Bregs). The study aimed at determining whether plasma levels of IL-35 are associated with clinical characteristics of breast cancer (BC) patients. The study included 40 patients with breast cancer (BC), and 10 matched controls. The IL-35 cytokine was measured in plasma using ELISA. Results showed that plasma IL-35levels were significantly higher in BC than healthy controls (P˂ 0.05), and were significantly associated with BC grade 2 and HER-2 over expression level "3+", suggesting that plasma IL-35 levels may be associated with the development and progression of BC.

Hassan EA, Ahmed EH, Nafee AM, et al.
Regulatory T Cells, IL10 and IL6 in HCV Related Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE).
Egypt J Immunol. 2019; 26(1):69-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary malignancy of the liver. Tumors can recruit and promote the expansion of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to suppress antitumor immune responses for survival and progression. Furthermore, there is a strong evidence for the potential roles of cytokines in promoting HCC carcinogenesis and progression. We aimed to evaluate the frequency of Treg cells and serum levels of IL6 and IL10 before and after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). We carried out a cross-sectional study at Assiut University hospitals that included 34 HCC patients and 10 matched apparently healthy controls. Peripheral Treg frequency was evaluated by Flow cytometry. IL6 and IL10 serum levels were evaluated by ELISA before and after TACE. HCC patients had a significantly higher level of IL6 and IL10 when compared to the control group (P=0.0002, P < 0.0001), respectively. However, after treatment, there was an elevation in the levels of IL6 and IL10 followed by a decrease to the baseline levels. Patients with large tumors (≥5 cm) showed higher levels of both IL 6 and IL 10 than those with smaller tumors. Moreover, HCC patients showed a higher frequency of Treg cells in comparison to the controls (P=0.002). No significant correlation was observed between the frequency of Treg cells and IL10 before and after treatment (r=0.38, P=0.30). In conclusion, HCC patients have significantly higher levels of IL 6, IL 10 and a higher percentage of Tregs than control individuals. Treg levels are altered after chemoembolization. IL 6 have a potential in reflecting the patient's condition after treatment, thus, can help in monitoring therapy.

Makowska A, Franzen S, Braunschweig T, et al.
Interferon beta increases NK cell cytotoxicity against tumor cells in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma via tumor necrosis factor apoptosis-inducing ligand.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(8):1317-1329 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an EBV-associated neoplasm occurring endemically in Southeast Asia and sporadically all over the world. In children and adolescents, high cure rates have been obtained using chemotherapy, radiochemotherapy and maintenance therapy with interferon beta (IFNβ). The mechanism by which IFNβ contributes to a low systemic relapse rate has not yet been fully revealed.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: NK cells and serum samples from two patients with NPC were analyzed before and at different time points during IFNβ therapy, for assessment of TRAIL expression and NK cell cytotoxicity. Cytotoxicity was measured using the calcein release assay and the contribution of different death effector pathways was analyzed using specific inhibitors.
RESULTS: Treatment with IFNβ induced TRAIL expression on patients' NK cells and increased their cytotoxicity against NPC targets in vitro. NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity was predominately mediated via TRAIL. IFNβ also induced the production of soluble TRAIL (sTRAIL) by NK cells and its release upon contact with NPC cells. IFNβ treatment increased serum levels of sTRAIL in patients. Moreover, sTRAIL concentrated from patients' serum samples induced apoptosis ex vivo in NPC cells from a patient-derived xenograft.
CONCLUSION: Increased cytotoxicity of NK cells against NPC cells and increased serum levels of biologically active TRAIL in patients treated with IFNβ could be a means to eliminate micrometastatic disease and explain the low systemic relapse rate in this patient group.

Osiagwu DD, Azenabor AE, Osijirin AA, et al.
Evaluation of interleukin 8 and interleukin 10 cytokines in liquid based cervical cytology samples.
Pan Afr Med J. 2019; 32:148 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Introduction: inflammatory cytokines have been associated with various cancers, including cervical cancers. Interpreting cytokine expression in liquid based cervical samples is quite challenging. This study is aimed at evaluating the levels of interleukin 8 and 10 in liquid based cervical samples.
Methods: this is a descriptive analytical study carried out on eighty five (85) subjects aged between 23 and 68 years. Cervical samples were collected in liquid based medium and smears later examined after staining with Papanicolaou technique. These were categorized into low grade intra-epithelial lesion/malignancy, high grade intraepithelial lesion/malignancy according to the degree of dyskaryosis. Concentrations of interleukin 8 and interleukin 10 in the samples were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: the mean age, standard deviation (SD) of the study subjects were 40.6 (7.8) years. A total number of 79 females (92.9%) were negative for intra-epithelial lesion/malignancy (NILM), while 4 (4.71%) and 2 (2.35%) were positive for low grade intra-epithelial lesion/malignancy (LILM) and high grade intra-epithelial lesion (HILM) respectively. While mean levels of interleukin 8 increased with the degree of malignancy, (107.27 ± 11.88pg/ml) in LILM, (114.80 ± 2.12pg/ml) in HILM when compared with NILM (88.39 ± 18.06pg/ml), (f = 0.700, p = 0.018); the mean levels of interleukin 10 was comparable between these groups (p ≥ 0.05). Pearson correlation coefficient analysis showed a negative association between interleukin 8 and interleukin 10 (r = -1.999, p = 0.000) in LILM.
Conclusion: interleukin 8 cytokines in cervical cancer is associated with the degree of malignancy. Possible anti-inflammatory effect of interleukin 10 was not observed.

Chuo D, Liu F, Chen Y, Yin M
LncRNA MIR503HG is downregulated in Han Chinese with colorectal cancer and inhibits cell migration and invasion mediated by TGF-β2.
Gene. 2019; 713:143960 [PubMed] Related Publications
In this study we investigated the role of lncRNA MIR503HG in colorectal cancer (CRC). We found that MIR503HG was downregulated and TGF-β2 was upregulated in CRC included in this study. Low levels of MIR503HG were associated with poor survival of CRC patients within 5 years after admission. MIR503HG and TGF-β2 were inversely correlated in CRC tissues, and in CRC cells, MIR503HG overexpression was accompanied by TGF-β2 downregulation, while TGF-β2 overexpression did not affect MIR503HG. TGF-β2 overexpression mediated the increased migration and invasion rates of CRC cells. MIR503HG overexpression mediated the decreased migration and invasion rates of CRC cells. Moreover, TGF-β2 overexpression reduced the effects of MIR503HG overexpression. Therefore, MIR503HG overexpression inhibits CRC cell migration and invasion mediated by TGF-β2.

Silva OB, Correia NAA, de Barros FT, et al.
3' untranslated region A>C (rs3212227) polymorphism of Interleukin 12B gene as a potential risk factor for Hodgkin's lymphoma in Brazilian children and adolescents.
Tumour Biol. 2019; 41(7):1010428319860400 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin 12 plays an important role in immunoregulation between the T helper 1/T helper 2 lymphocytes and in the antiviral and antitumor immune response. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible association between the interleukin 12B polymorphism rs3212227 and the risk to develop Hodgkin's lymphoma in childhood and adolescents. A total of 100 patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma and a group of 181 healthy controls were selected at random from a forensic laboratory of the University of Pernambuco. The AA genotype was detected in the controls (53.04%) and the AC genotype was found in the patients (54%). The AC genotype showed an association with the development of Hodgkin's lymphoma (odds ratio = 2.091, 95% confidence interval = 1.240-3.523, p = 0.007). When AC + CC genotypes were analyzed together, an increase in risk of 1.9 times more chances for HL development could be observed (odds ratio = 1.923, 95% confidence interval = 1.166-3.170, p = 0.014). However, there was no association between the AC and CC genotypes of the interleukin 12B polymorphism with the clinical risk group (p = 0.992, p = 0.648, respectively). Our results suggest that the presence of the C allele may be contributing to the development of Hodgkin's lymphoma in children and adolescents.

Maehana S, Matsumoto Y, Kojima F, Kitasato H
Interleukin-24 Transduction Modulates Human Prostate Cancer Malignancy Mediated by Regulation of Anchorage Dependence.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3719-3725 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hormone therapy and chemotherapy are not effective for castrate-resistant prostate cancer, thus development of novel treatment strategies is required. Gene therapy involving transient high-copy transfection of interleukin (IL)-24 with an adenoviral vector can exert antitumor activity; however, the effects of stable IL-24 transfection are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of IL-24 overexpression in prostate cancer cells, in vitro.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: DU145 cells were transfected the IL-24 gene using a retroviral vector. Apoptosis induction was investigated by the cell death detection ELISA, and the gene expression was analyzed by real time RT-PCR.
RESULTS: IL-24 transduction suppressed the growth of prostate cancer and induced tumor cell apoptosis. In addition, up-regulation of epithelial markers and down-regulation of mesenchymal markers were noted, suggesting that tumor aggressiveness was reduced.
CONCLUSION: Introduction of IL-24 displays antitumor activity both by induction of apoptosis and regulation of anchorage dependence.

Wu TK, Chen CH, Pan YR, et al.
Cetrimonium Bromide Inhibits Cell Migration and Invasion of Human Hepatic SK-HEP-1 Cells Through Modulating the Canonical and Non-canonical TGF-β Signaling Pathways.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3621-3631 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Cetrimonium bromide (CTAB), a quaternary ammonium surfactant, is an antiseptic agent against bacteria and fungi. However, the mechanisms by which its pharmacological actions affect epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, such as adenocarcinoma in SK-HEP-1 cells, have not been investigated. We, thereby, investigated whether CTAB inhibits cellular mobility and invasiveness of human hepatic adenocarcinoma in SK-HEP-1 cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: SK-HEP-1 cells were treated with CTAB, and subsequent migration and invasion were measured by wound healing and transwell assays. Protein expression was detected by immunoblotting analysis.
RESULTS: Our data revealed that treatment of SK-HEP-1 cells with CTAB altered their mesenchymal spindle-like morphology. CTAB exerted inhibitory effects on the migration and invasion of SK-HEP-1 cells dose-dependently, and reduced protein levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, snail, slug, twist, vimentin, fibronectin, N-cadherin, Smad2, Smad3, Smad4, phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K), p-PI3K, Akt, p-Akt, β-catenin, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), p-mTOR, p-p70S6K, p-extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2, p-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but increased protein levels of tissue inhibitor matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), TIMP-2, claudin-1 and p-GSK3β. Based on these observations, we suggest that CTAB not only inhibits the canonical transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling pathway though reducing SMADs (an acronym from the fusion of Caenorhabditis elegans Sma genes and the Drosophila Mad, Mothers against decapentaplegic proteins), but also restrains the non-canonical TGF-β signaling including MAPK pathways like ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, JNK and PI3K.
CONCLUSION: CTAB is involved in the suppression of TGF-β-mediated mesenchymal phenotype and could be a potent medical agent for use in controlling the migration and invasion of hepatic adenocarcinoma.

Namgung Y, Kim SY, Kim I
Down-regulation of Survivin by BIX-01294 Pretreatment Overcomes Resistance of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells to TRAIL.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3571-3578 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a cancer-selective, cell-death-inducing agent with little toxicity to normal cells. However, various human cancers and cancer cell lines have been reported to be resistant to TRAIL. Molecular clarification of resistance mechanism is needed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Compound screening, proliferation assays, western blotting, and flow cytometry were used to examine the sensitizer activity of methyl transferase inhibitor BIX-01294 in combination with TRAIL, in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. RNA sequencing analysis and single guide (sg)RNA-mediated gene deletion were used to investigate the role of survivin in sensitization.
RESULTS: In HCC cells, BIX-01294 enhanced TRAIL sensitivity by reducing survivin expression at the RNA level. Small interference RNA-mediated gene knockdown demonstrated the mechanism of sensitization to be via the reduction of survivin.
CONCLUSION: Euchromatin histone methyltransferase 2 (EHMT2) inhibition by BIX-01294 may be a potent anti-tumor therapeutic strategy for human HCC.

Balabanov D, Zhao L, Zhu Z, et al.
IL-29 Exhibits Anti-Tumor Effect on Pan-48 Pancreatic Cancer Cells by Up-regulation of P21 and Bax.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3493-3498 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal cancer of the digestive system. IL-29 is a new member of the IFNλ family and well-known for its strong antiviral activity. However, its direct effect on pancreatic cancer is still unclear. This study was performed to investigate if IL-29 has any direct effect on Pan-48 pancreatic cancer cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clonogenic survival assay, cell proliferation, and caspase-3 activity kits were used to evaluate the effects of IL-29 on cell survival, proliferation, and apoptosis of Pan-48 pancreatic cancer cells. RT-PCR and IHC were subsequently performed to explore IL-29's potential molecular mechanisms.
RESULTS: The percentage of colonies of Pan-48 cells was decreased following the addition of IL-29. This was consistent with a decreased optical density (OD) value of cancer cells. Furthermore, the relative caspase-3 activity in cancer cells was increased after the addition of IL-29, indicating increased apoptosis of cancer cells. The anti-proliferative effect of IL-29 on cancer cells correlated with increased expression of the anti-proliferative molecule p21. The pro-apoptotic effect of IL-29 on cancer cells correlated with an increased expression of the pro-apoptotic molecule Bax.
CONCLUSION: IL-29 constrains Pan-48 pancreatic cell growth via up-regulation of p21 and Bax. Our study suggests a potential use of IL-29 in immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer treatment.

Check JH, Check D
Therapy Aimed to Suppress the Production of the Immunosuppressive Protein Progesterone Induced Blocking Factor (PIBF) May Provide Palliation and/or Increased Longevity for Patients With a Variety of Different Advanced Cancers - A Review.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3365-3372 [PubMed] Related Publications
Progesterone induced blocking factor (PIBF) is a unique protein that is not present in normal cells, but is found predominantly in rapidly growing cells of the fetal placental unit or cancer cells. There is a larger "parent" form that is a nuclear protein involved in cell to cell regulation, allowing tumor cells to proliferate and invade tissues. The parent compound is cleaved into smaller intracytoplasmic isoforms that can suppress cellular immune response, especially, but not limited to natural killer cells. The progesterone receptor antagonist mifepristone can suppress messenger RNA for PIBF, but can also suppress the intracytoplasmic protein. Treating cancer cell lines, intact animals with a variety of spontaneous cancers, and people with various cancers with mifepristone, has been found to inhibit cancer growth, and provide both palliation of symptoms and longevity possibly by suppressing this unique immunomodulatory protein.

Xu F, Song Y, Guo A
Anti-Apoptotic Effects of Docosahexaenoic Acid in IL-1β-Induced Human Chondrosarcoma Cell Death through Involvement of the MAPK Signaling Pathway.
Cytogenet Genome Res. 2019; 158(1):17-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease characterized by progressive articular cartilage destruction and joint marginal osteophyte formation with different degrees of synovitis. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an unsaturated fatty acid with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiapoptotic functions. In this study, the human chondrosarcoma cell line SW1353 was cultured in vitro, and an OA cell model was constructed with inflammatory factor IL-1β stimulation. After cells were treated with DHA, cell apoptosis was measured. Western blot assay was used to detect protein expression of apoptosis-related factors (Bax, Bcl-2, and cleaved caspase-3) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway family members, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 MAPK. Our results show that IL-1β promotes the apoptosis of SW1353 cells, increases the expression of Bax and cleaved caspase-3, and activates the MAPK signaling pathway. In contrast, DHA inhibits the expression of IL-1β, inhibits IL-1β-induced cell apoptosis, and has a certain inhibitory effect on the activation of the MAPK signaling pathway. When the MAPK signaling pathway is inhibited by its inhibitors, the effects of DHA on SW1353 cells are weakened. Thus, DHA enhances the apoptosis of SW1353 cells through the MAPK signaling pathway.

Eissmann MF, Dijkstra C, Jarnicki A, et al.
IL-33-mediated mast cell activation promotes gastric cancer through macrophage mobilization.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2735 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The contribution of mast cells in the microenvironment of solid malignancies remains controversial. Here we functionally assess the impact of tumor-adjacent, submucosal mast cell accumulation in murine and human intestinal-type gastric cancer. We find that genetic ablation or therapeutic inactivation of mast cells suppresses accumulation of tumor-associated macrophages, reduces tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis, and diminishes tumor burden. Mast cells are activated by interleukin (IL)-33, an alarmin produced by the tumor epithelium in response to the inflammatory cytokine IL-11, which is required for the growth of gastric cancers in mice. Accordingly, ablation of the cognate IL-33 receptor St2 limits tumor growth, and reduces mast cell-dependent production and release of the macrophage-attracting factors Csf2, Ccl3, and Il6. Conversely, genetic or therapeutic macrophage depletion reduces tumor burden without affecting mast cell abundance. Therefore, tumor-derived IL-33 sustains a mast cell and macrophage-dependent signaling cascade that is amenable for the treatment of gastric cancer.

Chen S, Yang C, Sun C, et al.
miR-21-5p Suppressed the Sensitivity of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells to Cisplatin by Targeting FASLG.
DNA Cell Biol. 2019; 38(8):865-873 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating evidence has suggested that microRNAs play important roles in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and are involved in drug resistance. miR-21-5p was overexpressed in a variety of cancers and promoted the tumorigenesis; however, the function of miR-21-5p in HCC still remains unknown. In this study, our results showed that miR-21-5p was highly expressed in HCC tissues and cell lines. Notably, the level of miR-21-5p was relatively higher in cisplatin (DDP)-resistant HCC patients. Overexpression of miR-21-5p attenuated the inhibitory effect of DDP on the proliferation and apoptosis of HCC cells. Mechanistically, the luciferase report assay-identified FAS ligand (FASLG) was a direct target of miR-21-5p. Overexpression of miR-21-5p decreased both the mRNA and protein levels of FASLG in HCC cells. FASLG was downregulated in HCC tissues and was significantly negatively correlated with the expression of miR-21-5p. Restoring the expression of FASLG upregulated the chemosensitivity of HCC cells expressing miR-21-5p. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that miR-21-5p targeted FASLG and suppressed the sensitivity of HCC cells to DDP treatment.

Shima H, Tsurita G, Wada S, et al.
Randomized phase II trial of survivin 2B peptide vaccination for patients with HLA-A24-positive pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(8):2378-2385 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The prognosis of advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma is still extremely poor. This study sought to determine the efficacy of, and immunological response to, peptide vaccination therapy in patients with this disease. In this multicenter randomized phase II study, patients with advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma after gemcitabine and/or tegafur/gimeracil/oteracil were randomly assigned to 3 groups that each received a 2-step treatment course. In Step 1, the groups received treatments of: (i) survivin 2B peptide (SVN-2B) plus interferon-β (IFNβ); (ii) SVN-2B only; or (iii) placebo until the patients show progression. In Step 2, all patients who consented to participate received 4 treatments with SVN-2B plus IFNβ. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) after initiation of Step 1 treatment. Secondary endpoints included immunological effects assessed by analysis of PBMCs after Step 1. Eighty-three patients were randomly assigned to receive SVN-2B plus IFNβ (n = 30), SVN-2B (n = 34), or placebo (n = 19). No significant improvement in PFS was observed. Survivin 2B-specific CTLs were found to be increased in the SVN-2B plus IFNβ group by tetramer assay. Among patients who participated in Step 2, those who had received SVN-2B plus IFNβ in Step 1 showed better overall survival compared with those who had received placebo in Step 1. Patients vaccinated with SVN-2B plus IFNβ did not have improved PFS, but showed significant immunological reaction after vaccination. Subgroup analysis suggested that a longer SVN-2B plus IFNβ vaccination protocol might confer survival benefit. (Clinical trial registration number: UMIN 000012146).

Zhang Q, Huang F, Yao Y, et al.
Interaction of transforming growth factor-β-Smads/microRNA-362-3p/CD82 mediated by M2 macrophages promotes the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(8):2507-2519 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Abnormal tumor microenvironment and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are important features of tumor metastasis. However, it remains unknown how signals can form complicated networks to regulate the sustainability of the EMT process. The aim of our study is to explore the possible interaction between tumor-associated macrophages and tumor cells in the EMT process mediated by microRNA (miR)-362-3p. In this study, we found that by releasing TGF-β, M2 macrophages mediate binding of Smad2/3 to miR-362-3p promoter, leading to overexpression of miR-362-3p. MicroRNA-362-3p maintains EMT by regulating CD82, one of the most important members of the family of tetraspanins. Our finding suggests that miR-362-3p can serve as a core factor mediating cross-talk between the TGF-β pathway in tumor-associated macrophages and tetraspanins in tumor cells, and thus facilitates the EMT process.

Zhou ZJ, Xin HY, Li J, et al.
Intratumoral plasmacytoid dendritic cells as a poor prognostic factor for hepatocellular carcinoma following curative resection.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(8):1223-1233 [PubMed] Related Publications
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are present in various primary and metastatic human neoplasms; however, their clinical significance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is unclear. In this study, we investigated the distribution, prognostic value, and potential function of pDCs in HCC patients undergoing curative resection. We performed immunohistochemical analyses of whole tumor sections from 224 patients to assess the expression of BDCA2, CD3, CD4, CD8, Foxp3, granzyme B, IL-17, and CD34. The findings were validated using tissue microarrays from another two independent cohorts totaling 841 HCC patients undergoing curative resection. Our results demonstrated that high numbers of BDCA2

Lyu X, Zhang M, Li G, et al.
Interleukin-6 production mediated by the IRE1-XBP1 pathway confers radioresistance in human papillomavirus-negative oropharyngeal carcinoma.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(8):2471-2484 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) plays a key role in the pathogenesis and development of tumors and protects tumor cells from radiation damage and drug-induced stress. We previously demonstrated that EGFR confers radioresistance in human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative human oropharyngeal carcinoma by activating ERS signaling through PERK and IRE1α. In addition, PERK confers radioresistance by activating the inflammatory cytokine NF-κB. However, the effect of IRE1 on radiosensitivity has not yet been fully elucidated. Here, we clarified that IRE1 overexpression was associated with poor outcome in HPV-negative patients treated with radiotherapy (P = 0.0001). In addition, a significantly higher percentage of radioresistant HPV-negative patients than radiosensitive HPV-negative patients exhibited high IRE expression (66.7% vs 27.8%, respectively; P = 0.001). Silencing IRE1 and XBP1 increased DNA double-strand break (DSB) and radiation-induced apoptosis, thereby increasing the radiosensitivity of HPV-negative oropharyngeal carcinoma cells. IRE1-XBP1 silencing also inhibited radiation-induced IL-6 expression at both the RNA and protein levels. The regulatory effect of IRE1-XBP1 silencing on DNA DSB-induced and radiation-induced apoptosis was inhibited by pretreatment with IL-6. These data indicate that IRE1 regulates radioresistance in HPV-negative oropharyngeal carcinoma through IL-6 activation, enhancing X-ray-induced DNA DSB and cell apoptosis.

Henrik Heiland D, Ravi VM, Behringer SP, et al.
Tumor-associated reactive astrocytes aid the evolution of immunosuppressive environment in glioblastoma.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2541 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Reactive astrocytes evolve after brain injury, inflammatory and degenerative diseases, whereby they undergo transcriptomic re-programming. In malignant brain tumors, their function and crosstalk to other components of the environment is poorly understood. Here we report a distinct transcriptional phenotype of reactive astrocytes from glioblastoma linked to JAK/STAT pathway activation. Subsequently, we investigate the origin of astrocytic transformation by a microglia loss-of-function model in a human organotypic slice model with injected tumor cells. RNA-seq based gene expression analysis of astrocytes reveals a distinct astrocytic phenotype caused by the coexistence of microglia and astrocytes in the tumor environment, which leads to a large release of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as TGFβ, IL10 and G-CSF. Inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway shifts the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines towards a pro-inflammatory environment. The complex interaction of astrocytes and microglia cells promotes an immunosuppressive environment, suggesting that tumor-associated astrocytes contribute to anti-inflammatory responses.

Pascual-García M, Bonfill-Teixidor E, Planas-Rigol E, et al.
LIF regulates CXCL9 in tumor-associated macrophages and prevents CD8
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2416 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer response to immunotherapy depends on the infiltration of CD8

Huang SJ, Tseng YK, Lo YH, et al.
Association of
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(6):2891-2902 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Long-term exposure to betel quid (BQ)-, cigarette-, and alcohol-induced chronic inflammation is a crucial risk factor for oral and pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) progression. We analyzed the genotypes of stromal-cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and CXC-chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4) and determined the association between their polymorphisms and the risk of OPSCC.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study consisted of 452 patients with pathologically proved OPSCC and 424 sex- and age-matched cancer-free controls. The genotypes of SDF-1 and CXCR4 were detected through the TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.
RESULTS: Our data indicated that the C allele and C/C genotypes of CXCR4 were significantly associated with OPSCC [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI):1.02-1.96, p=0.037 and AOR=1.51, 95% CI:1.05-2.17, p=0.028, respectively] and OSCC (AOR=1.41, 95%CI:1.00-2.00, p=0.049 and AOR=1.49, 95%CI:1.01-2.20, p=0.044, respectively) risk. Patients with genetic polymorphisms of the genotype combination SDF-1/CXCR4 had a higher risk of OSCC (p trend=0.033). We analyzed the effects of CXCR4 genetic variants on susceptibility to OPSCC in patients with different risk habits of BQ chewing, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption, and revealed that C/T+T/T genotypes exerted an increased risk only in patients with one (AOR=2.68, p=0.036) or two risk habits (AOR=2.02, p=0.027) compared to patients with the C/C genotype.
CONCLUSION: We concluded that CXCR4 C>T can be used as a genetic marker of susceptibility to OPSCC, particularly in OPSCC patients with one or two types of risk habits with a synergistic effect.

Mironska A, Łukaszewicz-Zajac M, Mroczko B
Clinical Significance of Selected Chemokines in Thyroid Cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(6):2715-2720 [PubMed] Related Publications
Thyroid cancer (TC) is a common malignancy of the endocrine system. The global incidence of TC has increased dramatically in recent years. The available tumor biomarkers are not specific to TC and therefore finding new markers which could be helpful in the diagnostic process, prognosis and treatment of TC patients is a great challenge facing present and future researchers. Chemokines are small chemotactic proteins which play a significant role in the migration of leukocytes to many sites of the inflammatory process. It has been suggested that these molecules are able to promote cancer development by mediating inflammation. This paper presents the general structure of chemokines and their receptors as well as their potential significance in TC. The final aspect of this review is a summary of current knowledge and research results concerning the potential significance of selected chemokines and their specific receptors as candidates for novel tumor markers of TC.

Sullivan RJ
Back to the Future: Rethinking and Retooling IL2 in the Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Era.
Cancer Discov. 2019; 9(6):694-695 [PubMed] Related Publications
IL2 is a type I cytokine that is associated, when given at high doses intravenously, with durable regressionin a subset of patients with metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, yet high toxicity limits its use. NKTR-214 is a novel pegylated IL2 with minor clinical activity as a single agent, but a favorable toxicity profile and compelling pharmacodynamic effects that predict utility in combination with immune checkpoint inhibition.

Liu L, Ma J, Qin L, et al.
Interleukin-24 enhancing antitumor activity of chimeric oncolytic adenovirus for treating acute promyelocytic leukemia cell.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(22):e15875 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is a clonal disease arising by hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), which characterized by inappropriate proliferation/differentiation or survival of immature myeloid progenitors. Oncolytic adenoviruses have been under widespread investigation as anticancer agents. Recently, our data suggested that tumor cells were cured by AdCN205-IL-24, an adenovirus serotype 5-based conditionally replicating adenovirus expressing IL-24 after infection.
METHODS: In this study, we created a novel fiber chimeric oncolytic adenovirus AdCN306-IL-24 that has Ad11 tropism and approved CAR (coxsackie adenovirus receptor, CAR)-independent cell entry, which could allow development of selective cytopathic effects (CPE) in APL cells in vitro.
RESULTS: Formidable cytotoxic effect was specifically implemented in APL cells after infection with AdCN306-IL-24. The expression of IL-24 was up-regulated upon treated with accepted tumors. And the vector also induced superior cytolytic effects activity in APL cells by activation of programmed cell death.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data suggested that chimeric oncolytic adenovirus AdCN306-IL-24 could express IL-24 gene, representing a potential therapeutics for acute promyelocytic leukemia.

Yumimoto K, Sugiyama S, Mimori K, Nakayama KI
Potentials of C-C motif chemokine 2-C-C chemokine receptor type 2 blockers including propagermanium as anticancer agents.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(7):2090-2099 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inflammation plays an essential role in the development and progression of most cancers. Chemokine C-C motif chemokine 2 (CCL2) and its receptor C-C chemokine receptor type 2 (CCR2) constitute a key signaling axis in inflammation that has recently attracted much interest on the basis of evidence showing its association with cancer progression. Propagermanium (3-oxygermylpropionic acid polymer) is an organogermanium compound that is given for the treatment of hepatitis B in Japan and which inhibits the CCL2-CCR2 signaling pathway. Herein, we review the importance of the CCL2-CCR2 axis as a target in cancer treatment as shown by studies in mice and humans with pharmacological agents including propagermanium.

Ding LW, Sun QY, Edwards JJ, et al.
LNK suppresses interferon signaling in melanoma.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2230 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
LNK (SH2B3) is a key negative regulator of JAK-STAT signaling which has been extensively studied in malignant hematopoietic diseases. We found that LNK is significantly elevated in cutaneous melanoma; this elevation is correlated with hyperactive signaling of the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway. Elevated LNK enhances cell growth and survival in adverse conditions. Forced expression of LNK inhibits signaling by interferon-STAT1 and suppresses interferon (IFN) induced cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis. In contrast, silencing LNK expression by either shRNA or CRISPR-Cas9 potentiates the killing effect of IFN. The IFN-LNK signaling is tightly regulated by a negative feedback mechanism; melanoma cells exposed to IFN upregulate expression of LNK to prevent overactivation of this signaling pathway. Our study reveals an unappreciated function of LNK in melanoma and highlights the critical role of the IFN-STAT1-LNK signaling axis in this potentially devastating disease. LNK may be further explored as a potential therapeutic target for melanoma immunotherapy.

Song L, Ma S, Chen L, et al.
Long-term prognostic significance of interleukin-17-producing T cells in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(7):2100-2109 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The presence of interleukin (IL)-17-producing T cells has recently been reported in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, the long-term prognostic significance of these populations in NSCLC patients remains unknown. In the present study, we collected peripheral blood from 82 NSCLC patients and 22 normal healthy donors (NC). Percentages of IL-17-producing CD4

Matsui S, Okabayashi K, Tsuruta M, et al.
Interleukin-13 and its signaling pathway is associated with obesity-related colorectal tumorigenesis.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(7):2156-2165 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) has been on the rise, which is linked to the increasing prevalence of obesity, based on global epidemiological evidence. Although chronic inflammation is implicated in tumor development, the mechanisms underlying obesity-associated CRC remain unknown. Here, we sought to identify the inflammatory cytokines and their roles in obesity-related colorectal tumorigenesis using cytokine array analyses in a mouse model. Colorectal tumorigenesis was induced through i.p. injection of azoxymethane once a week for 6 weeks in 6-week-old female WT C57Black/6J mice and the obesity diabetes model mouse KK/TaJcl, KK-Ay/TaJcl. The formation of aberrant crypt foci and colorectal tumors were more frequent in obese mice compared with WT mice, and both serum interleukin (IL)-13 and IL-13 receptor (R) expression in the normal intestinal mucosal epithelium were significantly increased in the obese mice. Furthermore, addition of IL-13 to a human CRC cell line and a human colon organoid culture altered the phenotype of intestinal epithelial cells. Knockdown experiments further revealed that IL-13Rα1 dominantly induced mucosal proliferation. Collectively, These results suggest an association between anti-inflammatory cytokines and colorectal carcinogenesis, and provide new research directions for cancer prevention strategies. In particular, inflammation provoked by obesity, notably by increased expression of the cytokine IL-13, could play an important role in the carcinogenesis of obesity-related CRC.

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