Gene Summary

Gene:IL6; interleukin 6
Aliases: HGF, HSF, BSF2, IL-6, IFNB2
Summary:This gene encodes a cytokine that functions in inflammation and the maturation of B cells. In addition, the encoded protein has been shown to be an endogenous pyrogen capable of inducing fever in people with autoimmune diseases or infections. The protein is primarily produced at sites of acute and chronic inflammation, where it is secreted into the serum and induces a transcriptional inflammatory response through interleukin 6 receptor, alpha. The functioning of this gene is implicated in a wide variety of inflammation-associated disease states, including suspectibility to diabetes mellitus and systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. [provided by RefSeq, Jun 2011]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 08 August, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 08 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 08 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: IL6 (cancer-related)

Skead G, Govender D
Gene of the month: MET.
J Clin Pathol. 2015; 68(6):405-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The MET receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) are potential therapeutic targets in many human malignancies, making this pathway an important focus of molecular and cancer research. MET mutations have been detected in various tumours. In addition, many tumour types demonstrate MET and HGF/SF overexpression and amplification. The MET signal transduction cascade is complex, and manifests in a broad spectrum of mitogenic and morphogenic functions, affecting cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, morphology and survival. Cancer cells commandeer the physiological functions of this signalling axis to facilitate invasion and metastasis. Significant progress has been made in the development of agents that inhibit MET-HGF/SF signalling. In this article, we outline the key features of the MET gene, its protein product and the ligand HGF/SF, to provide an overview of this important signalling pathway and offer a summary of the relevant pathological and clinical directions of research.

Finisguerra V, Di Conza G, Di Matteo M, et al.
MET is required for the recruitment of anti-tumoural neutrophils.
Nature. 2015; 522(7556):349-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations or amplification of the MET proto-oncogene are involved in the pathogenesis of several tumours, which rely on the constitutive engagement of this pathway for their growth and survival. However, MET is expressed not only by cancer cells but also by tumour-associated stromal cells, although its precise role in this compartment is not well characterized. Here we show that MET is required for neutrophil chemoattraction and cytotoxicity in response to its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Met deletion in mouse neutrophils enhances tumour growth and metastasis. This phenotype correlates with reduced neutrophil infiltration to both the primary tumour and metastatic sites. Similarly, Met is necessary for neutrophil transudation during colitis, skin rash or peritonitis. Mechanistically, Met is induced by tumour-derived tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α or other inflammatory stimuli in both mouse and human neutrophils. This induction is instrumental for neutrophil transmigration across an activated endothelium and for inducible nitric oxide synthase production upon HGF stimulation. Consequently, HGF/MET-dependent nitric oxide release by neutrophils promotes cancer cell killing, which abates tumour growth and metastasis. After systemic administration of a MET kinase inhibitor, we prove that the therapeutic benefit of MET targeting in cancer cells is partly countered by the pro-tumoural effect arising from MET blockade in neutrophils. Our work identifies an unprecedented role of MET in neutrophils, suggests a potential 'Achilles' heel' of MET-targeted therapies in cancer, and supports the rationale for evaluating anti-MET drugs in certain inflammatory diseases.

Zacarias-Fluck MF, Morancho B, Vicario R, et al.
Effect of cellular senescence on the growth of HER2-positive breast cancers.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(5) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is a tumor suppressor mechanism. However, senescent cells remain viable and display a distinct secretome (also known as senescence-associated secretory phenotype [SASP] or senescence messaging secretome, [SMS]) that, paradoxically, includes protumorigenic factors. OIS can be triggered by ectopic overexpression of HER2, a receptor tyrosine kinase and the driving oncogene in a subtype of human breast cancer. However, cellular senescence has not been characterized in HER2-positive tumors.
METHODS: Using an approach based on their inability to proliferate, we isolated naturally occurring senescent cells from a variety of tumor models including HER2-positive cells, transgenic mice (n = 3), and patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) (n = 6 mice per group from one PDX derived from one patient). Using different biochemical and cell biological techniques, we characterized the secretome of these senescent cells. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: We found that senescent cells arise constantly in different models of advanced breast cancers overexpressing HER2 and constitute approximately 5% of tumor cells. In these models, IL-6 and other cytokines were expressed mainly, if not exclusively, by the naturally occurring senescent cells (95.1% and 45.0% of HCC1954 cells and cells from a HER2-positive PDX expressing a senescent marker expressed IL-6, respectively). Furthermore, inhibition of IL-6 impaired the growth of the HER2-positive PDX (mean tumor volume at day 101, control vs anti-huIL-6 treated, 332.2mm(3) [95% confidence interval {CI} = 216.6 to 449.8] vs 114.4mm(3) [95% CI = 12.79 to 216.0], P = .005).
CONCLUSIONS: Senescent cells can contribute to the growth of tumors by providing cytokines not expressed by proliferating cells, but required by these to thrive.

Welner RS, Amabile G, Bararia D, et al.
Treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia by blocking cytokine alterations found in normal stem and progenitor cells.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(5):671-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 11/05/2016 Related Publications
Leukemic cells disrupt normal patterns of blood cell formation, but little is understood about the mechanism. We investigated whether leukemic cells alter functions of normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Exposure to chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) caused normal mouse hematopoietic progenitor cells to divide more readily, altered their differentiation, and reduced their reconstitution and self-renewal potential. Interestingly, the normal bystander cells acquired gene expression patterns resembling their malignant counterparts. Therefore, much of the leukemia signature is mediated by extrinsic factors. Indeed, IL-6 was responsible for most of these changes. Compatible results were obtained when human CML were cultured with normal human hematopoietic progenitor cells. Furthermore, neutralization of IL-6 prevented these changes and treated the disease.

Yuhas Y, Ashkenazi S, Berent E, Weizman A
Immunomodulatory activity of ketamine in human astroglial A172 cells: Possible relevance to its rapid antidepressant activity.
J Neuroimmunol. 2015; 282:33-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
To determine if the immunomodulatory effect of ketamine is relevant to its rapid antidepressant activity, cultured human astroglial cells were incubated with ketamine, cytokine mix, or both. At 24h, ketamine dose-dependently (100-500 μM) decreased IL-6 and TNFα production and gene expression and, at clinically relevant concentration (100 μM), augmented IL-β release and gene expression in both unstimulated and cytokine-stimulated cells. In unstimulated cells, ketamine also increased IL-8 production and mRNA expression. The reduction in IL-6 mRNA was significant within 1h in unstimulated cells and at 4h after stimulation. Ketamine suppressed the production of the only established depression-relevant proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and TNFα.

Kato M, Muromoto R, Togi S, et al.
PML suppresses IL-6-induced STAT3 activation by interfering with STAT3 and HDAC3 interaction.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 461(2):366-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
The promyelocytic leukemia protein PML acts as a tumor suppressor by forming transcription-regulatory complexes with a variety of repressor proteins. In the present study, we found that endogenous PML suppresses interleukin (IL)-6-induced gene expression as well as phosphorylation and transcriptional activation of STAT3 in hepatoma cells. We also found that PML-mediated suppression of IL-6-induced STAT3 activation by disrupting interactions between STAT3 and HDAC3. These results indicate that PML modulates IL-6-induced STAT3 activation and hepatoma cell growth by interacting with HDAC3.

Luo H, Hong H, Slater MR, et al.
PET of c-Met in Cancer with ⁶⁴Cu-Labeled Hepatocyte Growth Factor.
J Nucl Med. 2015; 56(5):758-63 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/05/2016 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor, c-Met, are actively involved in tumor progression and metastasis and are closely associated with a poor prognostic outcome for cancer patients. Thus, the development of PET agents that can assess c-Met expression would be extremely useful for diagnosing cancer and subsequently monitoring response to c-Met-targeted therapies. Here, we report the characterization of recombinant human HGF (rh-HGF) as a PET tracer for detection of c-Met expression in vivo.
METHODS: rh-HGF was expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and purified by nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid affinity chromatography. The concentrated rh-HGF was conjugated to 2-S-(4-isothiocyanatobenzyl)-1,4,7-triazacyclononane-1,4,7-triacetic acid and labeled with (64)Cu. c-Met binding evaluation by flow cytometry was performed on both U87MG and MDA-MB-231 cell lines, which have a high level and a low level, respectively, of c-Met. PET imaging and biodistribution studies were performed on nude mice bearing U87MG and MDA-MB-231 xenografted tumors.
RESULTS: The rh-HGF expression yield was 150-200 μg of protein per 5 × 10(6) cells after a 48-h transfection, with purity of approximately 85%-90%. Flow cytometry examination confirmed that rh-HGF had a strong and specific capacity to bind to c-Met. After (64)Cu labeling, PET imaging revealed specific and prominent uptake of (64)Cu-NOTA-rh-HGF in c-Met-positive U87MG tumors (percentage injected dose per gram, 6.8 ± 1.8 at 9 h after injection) and significantly lower uptake in c-Met-negative MDA-MB-231 tumors (percentage injected dose per gram, 1.8 ± 0.6 at 9 h after injection). The fact that sonication-denatured rh-HGF had significantly lower uptake in U87MG tumors, along with histology analysis, confirmed the c-Met specificity of (64)Cu-NOTA-rh-HGF.
CONCLUSION: This study provided initial evidence that (64)Cu-NOTA-rh-HGF visualizes c-Met expression in vivo, an application that may prove useful for c-Met-targeted cancer therapy.

Xu J, Sun HY, Xiao FJ, et al.
SENP1 inhibition induces apoptosis and growth arrest of multiple myeloma cells through modulation of NF-κB signaling.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 460(2):409-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
SUMO/sentrin specific protease 1 (Senp1) is an important regulation protease in the protein sumoylation, which affects the cell cycle, proliferation and differentiation. The role of Senp1 mediated protein desumoylation in pathophysiological progression of multiple myeloma is unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that Senp1 is overexpressed and induced by IL-6 in multiple myeloma cells. Lentivirus-mediated Senp1 knockdown triggers apoptosis and reduces viability, proliferation and colony forming ability of MM cells. The NF-κB family members including P65 and inhibitor protein IkBα play important roles in regulation of MM cell survival and proliferation. We further demonstrated that Senp1 inhibition decreased IL-6-induced P65 and IkBα phosphorylation, leading to inactivation of NF-кB signaling in MM cells. These results delineate a key role for Senp1in IL-6 induced proliferation and survival of MM cells, suggesting it may be a potential new therapeutic target in MM.

Liu X, Wang J, Wang H, et al.
REG3A accelerates pancreatic cancer cell growth under IL-6-associated inflammatory condition: Involvement of a REG3A-JAK2/STAT3 positive feedback loop.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 362(1):45-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
Regenerating gene protein (REG) 3A is a 19 kD secretory pancreas protein with pro-growth function. Previously we demonstrated that overexpression of REG3A, acting as a key molecule for up-regulation of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway, contributed to inflammation-related pancreatic cancer (PaC) development. However the exact network associated with REG3A signaling still remains unclear. Here we determined that exposure of human PaC cells to cytokine IL-6 activated the oncogenic JAK2/STAT3 pathway, which directly upregulated REG3A expression, accelerated cell cycle progression by promoting CyclinD1 expression, and enhancing the expression of the anti-apoptosis Bcl family. Importantly, the activation of REG3A would instead enhance the JAK2/STAT3 pathway to constitute a REG3A-JAK2/STAT3 positive feedback loop, which leads to the amplification of the oncogenic effects of IL-6/JAK2/STAT3, a classic pathway linking to inflammation-related tumorigenesis, ultimately resulting in PaC cell over-proliferation and tumor formation both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, EGFR was found to mediate the REG3A signal for PaC cell growth and JAK2/STAT3 activation, thus functioning as a REG3A receptor. Collectively, our results provide the first evidence for the presence of the synergistic effect of REG3A and IL-6 on PaC development via a REG3A-JAK2/STAT3 positive feedback loop.

Chen K, Wu K, Jiao X, et al.
The endogenous cell-fate factor dachshund restrains prostate epithelial cell migration via repression of cytokine secretion via a cxcl signaling module.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(10):1992-2004 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/05/2016 Related Publications
Prostate cancer is the second leading form of cancer-related death in men. In a subset of prostate cancer patients, increased chemokine signaling IL8 and IL6 correlates with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). IL8 and IL6 are produced by prostate epithelial cells and promote prostate cancer cell invasion; however, the mechanisms restraining prostate epithelial cell cytokine secretion are poorly understood. Herein, the cell-fate determinant factor DACH1 inhibited CRPC tumor growth in mice. Using Dach1(fl/fl)/Probasin-Cre bitransgenic mice, we show IL8 and IL6 secretion was altered by approximately 1,000-fold by endogenous Dach1. Endogenous Dach1 is shown to serve as a key endogenous restraint to prostate epithelial cell growth and restrains migration via CXCL signaling. DACH1 inhibited expression, transcription, and secretion of the CXCL genes (IL8 and IL6) by binding to their promoter regulatory regions in chromatin. DACH1 is thus a newly defined determinant of benign and malignant prostate epithelium cellular growth, migration, and cytokine abundance in vivo.

Dasgupta M, Dermawan JK, Willard B, Stark GR
STAT3-driven transcription depends upon the dimethylation of K49 by EZH2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(13):3985-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/09/2015 Related Publications
Several transcription factors, including p53, NF-κB, and STAT3, are modified by the same enzymes that also modify histones, with important functional consequences. We have identified a previously unrecognized dimethylation of K49 of STAT3 that is crucial for the expression of many IL-6-dependent genes, catalyzed by the histone-modifying enzyme enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2). Loss of EZH2 is protumorigenic in leukemias, but its overexpression is protumorigenic in solid cancers. Connecting EZH2 to a functionally important methylation of STAT3, which is constitutively activated in many tumors, may help reveal the basis of the opposing roles of EZH2 in liquid and solid tumors and also may identify novel therapeutic opportunities.

Liu H, Ren G, Wang T, et al.
Aberrantly expressed Fra-1 by IL-6/STAT3 transactivation promotes colorectal cancer aggressiveness through epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(4):459-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 30/09/2015 Related Publications
The pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in tumor microenvironment has been suggested to promote development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that fos-related antigen-1 (Fra-1) plays a critical role in IL-6 induced CRC aggressiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In CRC cell lines, the expression of Fra-1 gene was found significantly upregulated during IL-6-driven EMT process. The Fra-1 induction occurred at transcriptional level in a manner dependent on signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), during which both phosphorylated and acetylated post-translational modifications were required for STAT3 activation to directly bind to the Fra-1 promoter. Importantly, RNA interference-based attenuation of either STAT3 or Fra-1 prevented IL-6-induced EMT, cell migration and invasion, whereas ectopic expression of Fra-1 markedly reversed the STAT3-knockdown effect and enhanced CRC cell aggressiveness by regulating the expression of EMT-promoting factors (ZEB1, Snail, Slug, MMP-2 and MMP-9). Furthermore, Fra-1 levels were positively correlated with the local invasion depth as well as lymph node and liver metastasis in a total of 229 CRC patients. Intense immunohistochemical staining of Fra-1 was observed at the tumor marginal area adjacent to inflammatory cells and in parallel with IL-6 secretion and STAT3 activation in CRC tissues. Together, this study proposes the existence of an aberrant IL-6/STAT3/Fra-1 signaling axis leading to CRC aggressiveness through EMT induction, which suggests novel therapeutic opportunities for the malignant disease.

Urakawa N, Utsunomiya S, Nishio M, et al.
GDF15 derived from both tumor-associated macrophages and esophageal squamous cell carcinomas contributes to tumor progression via Akt and Erk pathways.
Lab Invest. 2015; 95(5):491-503 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are known to be involved in the progression, angiogenesis, and motility of various cancers. We previously reported the association between an increased number of infiltrating TAMs with tumor progression and poor prognosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs). To study the roles of TAMs in ESCC, we first exposed peripheral blood monocyte (PBMo)-derived macrophages from healthy volunteers to conditioned media of TE series human ESCC cell line (TECM) and confirmed the induction of the expression of the M2 macrophage marker CD204 and the protumorigenic factors interleukin (IL)-10, VEGFA, and MMPs. Next, we compared gene expression profiles between PBMo-derived macrophages stimulated with or without TECM by cDNA microarray and focused on growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) among the highly expressed genes including IL-6, IL-8, and CXCL1. Our immunohistochemical study of 70 surgically resected ESCCs revealed that GDF15 was present not only in cancer cells but also in macrophages. The high expression of GDF15 in the ESCCs was significantly correlated with several more malignant phenotypes including vessel invasion, lymph node metastasis, and clinical stages. Patients with high GDF15 expression showed significantly poorer disease-free survival (P=0.011) and overall survival (P=0.041). We also found that recombinant human GDF15 promotes cell proliferation and the phosphorylation of both Akt and Erk1/2 in ESCC cell lines in vitro. These results indicate that GDF15 is secreted by both TAMs and cancer cells in the tumor microenvironment and is associated with aberrant growth and a poor prognosis in human ESCC.

Hao NB, Tang B, Wang GZ, et al.
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) upregulates heparanase expression via the PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway for gastric cancer metastasis.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 361(1):57-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Heparanase (HPA) is an endoglucuronidase that can promote the shedding of associated cytokines in several types of tumors. However, little is known about what controls the expression of HPA or its role in gastric cancer. In this study, we report for the first time that HGF regulates HPA expression to promote gastric cancer metastasis. In this study, HGF and HPA were found to be significantly expressed in 58 gastric cancer patients. High expression of both HGF and HPA was positively associated with TNM stage, invasion depth and poor prognosis. In MKN74 cells, exogenous HGF significantly increased HPA expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Further study revealed that HGF first activated PI3K/Akt signaling. NF-κB signaling was activated downstream of PI3K/Akt and promoted HPA expression. However, when c-met, PI3K/Akt or NF-κB signal inhibitors were used, HPA expression was significantly decreased. All of these results indicate that HGF regulates HPA expression by PI3K/Akt and downstream NF-κB signaling. Using bioinformatics and the ChIP assay, p65 was observed to bind to the HPA promoter. Furthermore, HGF significantly induced tumor cell migration, whereas treatment with an NF-κB inhibitor decreased migration. Moreover, when HPA was overexpressed in MKN74 cells, migration was significantly enhanced, and the HGF concentration was increased. However, when HPA was down-regulated in MKN45 cells, migration and HGF levels decreased. Together, these results demonstrate that HGF/c-met can activate PI3K/Akt and downstream NF-κB signaling to promote HPA expression and subsequent tumor metastasis.

Thiel A, Ristimäki A
Targeted therapy in gastric cancer.
APMIS. 2015; 123(5):365-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. Although chemotherapy prolongs survival and improves quality of life, the survival of gastric cancer patients with advanced disease is short. Thanks to recent insights into the molecular pathways involved in gastric carcinogenesis, new targeted treatment options have become available for gastric cancer patients. Trastuzumab, an antibody targeted to HER-2, was shown to improve survival of advanced gastric cancer patients harboring HER-2 overexpression due to gene amplification in their tumor cells, and is currently also explored in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings. Another agent with promising results in clinical trials is ramucirumab, an antibody targeting VEGFR-2. No clear survival benefit, however, were experienced with agents targeting EGFR (cetuximab, panitumumab), VEGF-A (bevacizumab), or mTOR (everolimus). Drugs targeting c-MET/HGF are currently under investigation in biomarker-selected cohorts, with promising results in early clinical trials. This review will summarize the current status of targeted treatment options in gastric cancer.

Peterson EA, Teffera Y, Albrecht BK, et al.
Discovery of potent and selective 8-fluorotriazolopyridine c-Met inhibitors.
J Med Chem. 2015; 58(5):2417-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The overexpression of c-Met and/or hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), the amplification of the MET gene, and mutations in the c-Met kinase domain can activate signaling pathways that contribute to cancer progression by enabling tumor cell proliferation, survival, invasion, and metastasis. Herein, we report the discovery of 8-fluorotriazolopyridines as inhibitors of c-Met activity. Optimization of the 8-fluorotriazolopyridine scaffold through the combination of structure-based drug design, SAR studies, and metabolite identification provided potent (cellular IC50 < 10 nM), selective inhibitors of c-Met with desirable pharmacokinetic properties that demonstrate potent inhibition of HGF-mediated c-Met phosphorylation in a mouse liver pharmacodynamic model.

Turbica I, Gallais Y, Gueguen C, et al.
Ectosomes from neutrophil-like cells down-regulate nickel-induced dendritic cell maturation and promote Th2 polarization.
J Leukoc Biol. 2015; 97(4):737-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
DCs are the first immune cells to be exposed to allergens, including chemical sensitizers, such as nickel, a human TLR4 agonist that induces DC maturation. In ACD, DCs can interact with PMNs that are recruited and activated, leading, in particular, to ectosome release. The objective of this work was to characterize the effects of PMN-Ect on DC functions in an ACD context. We first developed a standardized protocol to produce, characterize, and quantify ectosomes by use of human PLB-985 cells, differentiated into mature PMN (PLB-Ect). We then studied the in vitro effects of these purified ectosomes on human moDC functions in response to NiSO4 and to LPS, another TLR4 agonist. Confocal fluorescence microscopy showed that PLB-Ect was internalized by moDCs and localized in the lysosomal compartment. We then showed that PLB-Ect down-regulated NiSO4-induced moDC maturation, as witnessed by decreased expression of CD40, CD80, CD83, CD86, PDL-1, and HLA-DR and by decreased levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-12p40 mRNAs. These effects were related to p38MAPK and NF-κB down-regulation. However, no increase in pan-regulatory DC marker genes (GILZ, CATC, C1QA) was observed; rather, levels of effector DC markers (Mx1, NMES1) were increased. Finally, when these PLB-Ect + NiSO4-treated moDCs were cocultured with CD4(+) T cells, a Th2 cytokine profile seemed to be induced, as shown, in particular, by enhanced IL-13 production. Together, these results suggest that the PMN-Ect can modulate DC maturation in response to nickel, a common chemical sensitizer responsible for ADC.

Betts BC, Sagatys EM, Veerapathran A, et al.
CD4+ T cell STAT3 phosphorylation precedes acute GVHD, and subsequent Th17 tissue invasion correlates with GVHD severity and therapeutic response.
J Leukoc Biol. 2015; 97(4):807-19 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2016 Related Publications
Th17 cells contribute to severe GVHD in murine bone marrow transplantation. Targeted deletion of the RORγt transcription factor or blockade of the JAK2-STAT3 axis suppresses IL-17 production and alloreactivity by Th17 cells. Here, we show that pSTAT3 Y705 is increased significantly in CD4(+) T cells among human recipients of allogeneic HCT before the onset of Grade II-IV acute GVHD. Examination of target-organ tissues at the time of GVHD diagnosis indicates that the amount of RORγt + Th17 cells is significantly higher in severe GVHD. Greater accumulation of tissue-resident Th17 cells also correlates with the use of MTX- compared with Rapa-based GVHD prophylaxis, as well as a poor therapeutic response to glucocorticoids. RORγt is optimally suppressed by concurrent neutralization of TORC1 with Rapa and inhibition of STAT3 activation with S3I-201, supporting that mTOR- and STAT3-dependent pathways converge upon RORγt gene expression. Rapa-resistant T cell proliferation can be totally inhibited by STAT3 blockade during initial allosensitization. We conclude that STAT3 signaling and resultant Th17 tissue accumulation are closely associated with acute GVHD onset, severity, and treatment outcome. Future studies are needed to validate the association of STAT3 activity in acute GVHD. Novel GVHD prevention strategies that incorporate dual STAT3 and mTOR inhibition merit investigation.

Balan M, Mier y Teran E, Waaga-Gasser AM, et al.
Novel roles of c-Met in the survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1 expression.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(13):8110-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/03/2016 Related Publications
The receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met is overexpressed in renal cancer cells and can play major role in the growth and survival of tumor. We investigated how the c-Met-mediated signaling through binding to its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can modulate the apoptosis and immune escape mechanism(s) of renal cancer cells by the regulations of novel molecules heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1). We found that HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling activated the Ras/Raf pathway and down-regulated cancer cell apoptosis; and it was associated with the overexpression of cytoprotective HO-1 and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. c-Met-induced HO-1 overexpression was regulated at the transcriptional level. Next, we observed that c-Met induction markedly up-regulated the expression of the negative co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1, and this can be prevented following treatment of the cells with pharmacological inhibitors of c-Met. Interestingly, HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling could not induce PD-L1 at the optimum level when either Ras or HO-1 was knocked down. To study the functional significance of c-Met-induced PD-L1 expression, we performed a co-culture assay using mouse splenocytes (expressing PD-L1 receptor PD-1) and murine renal cancer cells (RENCA, expressing high PD-L1). We observed that the splenocyte-mediated apoptosis of cancer cells during co-culture was markedly increased in the presence of either c-Met inhibitor or PD-L1 neutralizing antibody. Finally, we found that both c-Met and PD-L1 are significantly up-regulated and co-localized in human renal cancer tissues. Together, our study suggests a novel mechanism(s) by which c-Met can promote increased survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1.

Baron VT, Pio R, Jia Z, Mercola D
Early Growth Response 3 regulates genes of inflammation and directly activates IL6 and IL8 expression in prostate cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(4):755-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transcription factor EGR3 (Early Growth Response 3) is a little-studied member of the EGR family that is highly expressed in human prostate tumours compared with normal tissue. Its function in prostate cancer, however, is unknown.
METHODS: Stable shRNA silencing was achieved in naturally overexpressing prostate cancer cells, followed by Affymetrix expression analysis. Fold changes of ⩾2 and ⩽-2 were considered valid and t-tests P-values of ⩽0.01 were considered statistically significant. Potential EGR3 target genes were validated by real-time qPCR, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and gain-of-function experiments. Promoter analysis confirmed the presence of consensus binding sites in the promoters of target genes.
RESULTS: Early Growth Response 3 regulates the expression of ∼330 genes, 35% of which are involved in immune responses and inflammatory processes, and 15% crosstalk with the NF-κB signalling pathway. In particular, EGR3 induces the expression of over 50 secreted cytokines, growth factors, and matrix remodelling factors. Two interleukins of great relevance to prostate cancer, IL6 and IL8, were further validated as EGR3 target genes: both promoters contain EGR consensus binding sites and are pulled down in intact cells by EGR3 chromatin immunoprecipitation. Silencing of EGR3 decreased IL6 and IL8 expression, whereas overexpression of EGR3 in nontransformed cells induced IL6 and IL8 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic inflammation plays a critical role in prostate cancer and elevated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL8 and IL6, in particular, contributes to disease progression and to the onset of castration resistance. It is shown for the first time that EGR3 is involved in the upregulation of both IL6 and IL8. Together with our previous observation that EGR3 is highly expressed in prostate tumours compared with normal tissue and strongly correlates with IL6 and IL8 expression in clinical samples, the present study suggests that EGR3 promotes excessive production of IL6 and IL8 observed during the progression of prostate cancer.

Jeon YJ, Jung SN, Yun J, et al.
Ginkgetin inhibits the growth of DU-145 prostate cancer cells through inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activity.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(4):413-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is constitutively activated in human cancers. Therefore, STAT3 is a therapeutic target of cancer drug discovery. We previously reported that natural products inhibited constitutively activated STAT3 in human prostate tumor cells. We used a dual-luciferase assay to screen 200 natural products isolated from herbal medicines and we identified ginkgetin obtained from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba L. as a STAT3 inhibitor. Ginkgetin inhibited both inducible and constitutively activated STAT3 and blocked the nuclear translocation of p-STAT3 in DU-145 prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, ginkgetin selectively inhibited the growth of prostate tumor cells stimulated with activated STAT3. Ginkgetin induced STAT3 dephosphorylation at Try705 and inhibited its localization to the nucleus, leading to the inhibition of expression of STAT3 target genes such as cell survival-related genes (cyclin D1 and survivin) and anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL). Therefore, ginkgetin inhibited the growth of STAT3-activated tumor cells. We also found that ginkgetin inhibited tumor growth in xenografted nude mice and downregulated p-STAT3(Tyr705) and survivin in tumor tissues. This is the first report that ginkgetin exerts antitumor activity by inhibiting STAT3. Therefore, ginkgetin is a good STAT3 inhibitor and may be a useful lead molecule for development of a therapeutic STAT3 inhibitor.

Yamada D, Rizvi S, Razumilava N, et al.
IL-33 facilitates oncogene-induced cholangiocarcinoma in mice by an interleukin-6-sensitive mechanism.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(5):1627-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/02/2016 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a lethal hepatobiliary neoplasm originating from the biliary apparatus. In humans, CCA risk factors include hepatobiliary inflammation and fibrosis. The recently identified interleukin (IL)-1 family member, IL-33, has been shown to be a biliary mitogen which also promotes liver inflammation and fibrosis. Our aim was to generate a mouse model of CCA mimicking the human disease. Ectopic oncogene expression in the biliary tract was accomplished by the Sleeping Beauty transposon transfection system with transduction of constitutively active AKT (myr-AKT) and Yes-associated protein. Intrabiliary instillation of the transposon-transposase complex was coupled with lobar bile duct ligation in C57BL/6 mice, followed by administration of IL-33 for 3 consecutive days. Tumors developed in 72% of the male mice receiving both oncogenes plus IL-33 by 10 weeks but in only 20% of the male mice transduced with the oncogenes alone. Tumors expressed SOX9 and pancytokeratin (features of CCA) but were negative for HepPar1 (a marker of hepatocellular carcinoma). Substantive overlap with human CCA specimens was revealed by RNA profiling. Not only did IL-33 induce IL-6 expression by human cholangiocytes but it likely facilitated tumor development in vivo by an IL-6-sensitive process as tumor development was significantly attenuated in Il-6(-/-) male animals. Furthermore, tumor formation occurred at a similar rate when IL-6 was substituted for IL-33 in this model.
CONCLUSION: The transposase-mediated transduction of constitutively active AKT and Yes-associated protein in the biliary epithelium coupled with lobar obstruction and IL-33 administration results in the development of CCA with morphological and biochemical features of the human disease; this model highlights the role of inflammatory cytokines in CCA oncogenesis.

Gomes M, Coelho A, Araújo A, et al.
IL-6 polymorphism in non-small cell lung cancer: a prognostic value?
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(5):3679-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer was found to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer, as well as the primary cause of cancer-related mortality for males worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women. Cytokines are fundamental for several biological processes-associated malignant tumors. The IL-6 is a cytokine involved in the regulation of cellular functions including processes associated with cancer, such as proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and differentiation. Furthermore, IL-6 is a potent pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine that is considered a key growth-promoting and antiapoptotic factor. The polymorphism-174G/C SNP is a G to C transition in the -174 position of the promoter region of the IL-6 gene. The aim of our study was to evaluate the influence of -174G/C polymorphism in clinical outcome of non-small cell cancer (NSCLC) patients. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood of 424 patients diagnosed with cytologically or histologically NSCLC. The characterization of IL-6 -174G/C genotypes was performed by PCR-RFLP (NlaIII). IL-6 polymorphism's genotypes were divided according to functional activity, so the G carriers (CG/GG) is the high-producer IL-6, and CC genotype is the low-producer IL-6. Regarding survival, we verify that patients with genotypes carrying the G allele (CG/GG) had a statistically significant diminished survival when compared with patients with CC genotype (62.79 and 42.31 months, respectively; P = 0.032). In the promoter region of the IL-6 gene, polymorphic variants were located and may be responsible for alterations in transcription that consequently affect serum levels of the cytokine. With our study, we demonstrated that genetic variant (-174G/G and G/C) can be responsible for changes in prognosis of NSCLC patients.

Boukhari A, Alhosin M, Bronner C, et al.
CD47 activation-induced UHRF1 over-expression is associated with silencing of tumor suppressor gene p16INK4A in glioblastoma cells.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(1):149-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
CD47, an integrin-associated protein is over-expressed in several tumors including glioblastomas. Activation of CD47 induces proliferation of human astrocytoma cells but not normal astrocytes via an Akt-dependent way. However, the pathways mediating this process are still unknown. The epigenetic integrator UHRF1 (Ubiquitin-like containing PHD and RING Finger 1) is over-expressed in various cancers and plays a vital role in the silencing of numerous tumor suppressor genes including p16(INK4A), thereby promoting cell proliferation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of UHRF1 and p16(INK4A) in CD47-induced effects. Herein we showed that activation of CD47 in human astrocytoma cell lines U87 and CCF- STTG1 (Grade IV), up-regulated the expression of UHRF1 with subsequent down-regulation of p16(INK4A), thus promoting cell proliferation. Blockage of CD47 using a blocking antibody down-regulated UHRF1 expression, accompanied by a re-expression of p16(INK4A), conducting to decreased cell proliferation in both cancer cell lines. Neither CD47 activation nor its blocking has any effect on UHRF1/p16(INK4A) expression in normal human astrocytes. Depletion of CD47 in the U87 cell line resulted in down-regulation of UHRF1. We also found that CD47 activated the inflammatory genes IL-6, IL-7 and MCP-1 by a NF-κB-dependent mechanism in human astrocytoma but not in normal astrocytes. In conclusion, the present findings indicate that CD47 activation increases expression of UHRF1 and suggest, for the first time, that CD47 regulates the epigenetic code by targeting UHRF1. This could represent a new pathway towards cell proliferation and metastasis.

Rutkowski MR, Stephen TL, Svoronos N, et al.
Microbially driven TLR5-dependent signaling governs distal malignant progression through tumor-promoting inflammation.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27(1):27-40 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/01/2016 Related Publications
The dominant TLR5(R392X) polymorphism abrogates flagellin responses in >7% of humans. We report that TLR5-dependent commensal bacteria drive malignant progression at extramucosal locations by increasing systemic IL-6, which drives mobilization of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Mechanistically, expanded granulocytic MDSCs cause γδ lymphocytes in TLR5-responsive tumors to secrete galectin-1, dampening antitumor immunity and accelerating malignant progression. In contrast, IL-17 is consistently upregulated in TLR5-unresponsive tumor-bearing mice but only accelerates malignant progression in IL-6-unresponsive tumors. Importantly, depletion of commensal bacteria abrogates TLR5-dependent differences in tumor growth. Contrasting differences in inflammatory cytokines and malignant evolution are recapitulated in TLR5-responsive/unresponsive ovarian and breast cancer patients. Therefore, inflammation, antitumor immunity, and the clinical outcome of cancer patients are influenced by a common TLR5 polymorphism.

Wang K, Kim MK, Di Caro G, et al.
Interleukin-17 receptor a signaling in transformed enterocytes promotes early colorectal tumorigenesis.
Immunity. 2014; 41(6):1052-63 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 18/12/2015 Related Publications
Interleukin-17A (IL-17A) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine linked to rapid malignant progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) and therapy resistance. IL-17A exerts its pro-tumorigenic activity through its type A receptor (IL-17RA). However, IL-17RA is expressed in many cell types, including hematopoietic, fibroblastoid, and epithelial cells, in the tumor microenvironment, and how IL-17RA engagement promotes colonic tumorigenesis is unknown. Here we show that IL-17RA signals directly within transformed colonic epithelial cells (enterocytes) to promote early tumor development. IL-17RA engagement activates ERK, p38 MAPK, and NF-κB signaling and promotes the proliferation of tumorigenic enterocytes that just lost expression of the APC tumor suppressor. Although IL-17RA signaling also controls the production of IL-6, this mechanism makes only a partial contribution to colonic tumorigenesis. Combined treatment with chemotherapy, which induces IL-17A expression, and an IL-17A neutralizing antibody enhanced the therapeutic responsiveness of established colon tumors. These findings establish IL-17A and IL-17RA as therapeutic targets in colorectal cancer.

Deng XB, Xiao L, Wu Y, et al.
Inhibition of mesothelioma cancer stem-like cells with adenovirus-mediated NK4 gene therapy.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 137(2):481-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/07/2016 Related Publications
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a highly invasive and chemoresistant malignancy induced by asbestos fibers. NK4, a hepatocyte growth factor antagonist and angiogenesis inhibitor, consists of the N-terminal hairpin domain and four kringle domains of the α-chain of hepatocyte growth factor. The therapeutic potential of NK4 has been demonstrated in a variety of tumor types. However, the mechanisms by which NK4 inhibits tumor growth have not been well delineated. In this study, it is shown that the NK4 adenovirus (Ad-NK4) potently inhibits cell viability, invasiveness and tumorigenicity of human MM cells. Significantly, this study demonstrates for the first time that Ad-NK4 inhibits cancer stem-like cell (CSC) properties as assessed by spheroid formation assay, side population analysis and flow cytometric sorting of CD24 cells. In addition to inhibiting phosphorylation of Met and AKT, Ad-NK4 markedly suppressed the active form of β-catenin, a key mediator of both Wnt and AKT pathways. It is further demonstrated that expression of NK4 suppresses β-catenin nuclear localization and transcriptional activity. Intriguingly, the expression levels of Oct4 and Myc, two critical stem cell factors and downstream targets of β-catenin, were also diminished by Ad-NK4. Furthermore, the strong antitumor effect of NK4 was found to be linked to its ability to inhibit CSCs as revealed by immunohistochemical examination of tumor specimens from a mouse xenograft model of human MM. These findings suggest that NK4 acts as a CSC inhibitor by impeding Met/AKT/β-catenin signaling and holds promise for achieving durable therapeutic responses in MM by constraining the CSC component of these aggressive tumors.

Gao Y, Zeng F, Wu JY, et al.
MiR-335 inhibits migration of breast cancer cells through targeting oncoprotein c-Met.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2875-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Metastasis is the leading cause of death in patients with breast cancer and aberrantly expressed microRNAs (miRNAs) are highly associated with this process. A previous study has shown that miR-335 is downregulated in breast cancer and can suppress tumor invasion and metastasis. Emerging evidences indicate that c-Met is implicated in cell scattering, migration, and invasion. However, little is known about the relationship between miR-335 expression and c-Met alteration in breast cancer. In the present study, we found that miR-335 expression was downregulated and c-Met protein expression was upregulated in two human breast cell lines. MiR-335 was found to negatively regulate c-Met protein level by directly targeting its 3' untranslated region (UTR). Forced expression of miR-335 decreased c-Met expression at protein levels and consequently diminished hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-induced phosphorylation of c-Met and subsequently inhibited HGF promotion of breast cancer cell migration in a c-Met-dependent manner. MiR-335 expression was increased after 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA-CdR) treatment, and 5-AZA-CdR treatment resulted in the same phenotype as the effect of miR-335 overexpression. Taken together, these results demonstrate that miR-335 suppresses breast cancer cell migration by negatively regulating the HGF/c-Met pathway.

Peraldo-Neia C, Cavalloni G, Soster M, et al.
Anti-cancer effect and gene modulation of ET-743 in human biliary tract carcinoma preclinical models.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:918 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/07/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Standard chemotherapy in unresectable biliary tract carcinoma (BTC) patients is based on gemcitabine combined with platinum derivatives. However, primary or acquired resistance is inevitable and no second-line chemotherapy is demonstrated to be effective. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify new alternative (chemo)therapy approaches.
METHODS: We evaluated the mechanism of action of ET-743 in preclinical models of BTC. Six BTC cell lines (TFK-1, EGI-1, TGBC1, WITT, KMCH, HuH28), two primary cell cultures derived from BTC patients, the EGI-1 and a new established BTC patient-derived xenografts, were used as preclinical models to investigate the anti-tumor activity of ET-743 in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression profiling was also analyzed upon ET-743 treatment in in vivo models.
RESULTS: We found that ET-743 inhibited cell growth of BTC cell lines and primary cultures (IC50 ranging from 0.37 to 3.08 nM) preferentially inducing apoptosis and activation of the complex DNA damage-repair proteins (p-ATM, p-p53 and p-Histone H2A.x) in vitro. In EGI-1 and patient-derived xenografts, ET-743 induced tumor growth delay and reduction of vasculogenesis. In vivo ET-743 induced a deregulation of genes involved in cell adhesion, stress-related response, and in pathways involved in cholangiocarcinogenesis, such as the IL-6, Sonic Hedgehog and Wnt signaling pathways.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ET-743 could represent an alternative chemotherapy for BTC treatment and encourage the development of clinical trials in BTC patients resistant to standard chemotherapy.

Tudor S, Giza DE, Lin HY, et al.
Cellular and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus microRNAs in sepsis and surgical trauma.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1559 [PubMed] Related Publications
Once a patient is in septic shock, survival rates drop by 7.6% for every hour of delay in antibiotic therapy. Biomarkers based on the molecular mechanism of sepsis are important for timely diagnosis and triage. Here, we study the potential roles of a panel of cellular and viral miRNAs as sepsis biomarkers. We performed genome-wide microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling in leukocytes from septic patients and nonseptic controls, combined with quantitative RT-PCR in plasmas from two cohorts of septic patients, two cohorts of nonseptic surgical patients and healthy volunteers. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, miRNA transfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation were used to study the effects of Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) miRNAs on interleukin's secretion. Differences related to sepsis etiology were noted for plasma levels of 10 cellular and 2 KSHV miRNAs (miR-K-10b and miR-K-12-12*) between septic and nonseptic patients. All the sepsis groups had high KSHV miRNAs levels compared with controls; Afro-American patients had higher levels of KSHV-miR-K12-12* than non-Afro-American patients. Both KSHV miRNAs were increased on postoperative day 1, but returned to baseline on day 7; they acted as direct agonists of Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8), which might explain the increased secretion of the IL-6 and IL-10. Cellular and KSHV miRNAs are differentially expressed in sepsis and early postsurgical patients and may be exploited for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Increased miR-K-10b and miR-K12-12* are functionally involved in sepsis as agonists of TLR8, forming a positive feedback that may lead to cytokine dysregulation.

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