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, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 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 28 February 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 27 February, 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)

Pratheeshkumar P, Son YO, Divya SP, et al.
Luteolin inhibits Cr(VI)-induced malignant cell transformation of human lung epithelial cells by targeting ROS mediated multiple cell signaling pathways.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014; 281(2):230-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a well-known human carcinogen associated with the incidence of lung cancer. Inhibition of metal induced carcinogenesis by a dietary antioxidant is a novel approach. Luteolin, a natural dietary flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. We found that short term exposure of human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to Cr(VI) (5μM) showed a drastic increase in ROS generation, NADPH oxidase (NOX) activation, lipid peroxidation, and glutathione depletion, which were significantly inhibited by the treatment with luteolin in a dose dependent manner. Treatment with luteolin decreased AP-1, HIF-1α, COX-2, and iNOS promoter activity induced by Cr(VI) in BEAS-2B cells. In addition, luteolin protected BEAS-2B cells from malignant transformation induced by chronic Cr(VI) exposure. Moreover, luteolin also inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α) and VEGF in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Western blot analysis showed that luteolin inhibited multiple gene products linked to survival (Akt, Fak, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL), inflammation (MAPK, NF-κB, COX-2, STAT-3, iNOS, TNF-α) and angiogenesis (HIF-1α, VEGF, MMP-9) in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Nude mice injected with BEAS-2B cells chronically exposed to Cr(VI) in the presence of luteolin showed reduced tumor incidence compared to Cr(VI) alone treated group. Overexpression of catalase (CAT) or SOD2, eliminated Cr(VI)-induced malignant transformation. Overall, our results indicate that luteolin protects BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis by scavenging ROS and modulating multiple cell signaling mechanisms that are linked to ROS. Luteolin, therefore, serves as a potential chemopreventive agent against Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis.

Liu Y, Luo F, Xu Y, et al.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cells, mediated by a long non-coding RNA, HOTAIR, are involved in cell malignant transformation induced by cigarette smoke extract.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015; 282(1):9-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of lung diseases, including cancer, caused by cigarette smoke is increasing, but the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation induced by cigarette smoke remain unclear. This report describes a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that is induced by cigarette smoke extract (CSE) and experiments utilizing lncRNAs to integrate inflammation with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells. The present study shows that, induced by CSE, IL-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, leads to activation of STAT3, a transcription activator. A ChIP assay determined that the interaction of STAT3 with the promoter regions of HOX transcript antisense RNA (HOTAIR) increased levels of HOTAIR. Blocking of IL-6 with anti-IL-6 antibody, decreasing STAT3, and inhibiting STAT3 activation reduced HOTAIR expression. Moreover, for HBE cells cultured in the presence of HOTAIR siRNA for 24h, the CSE-induced EMT, formation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), and malignant transformation were reversed. Thus, IL-6, acting on STAT3 signaling, which up-regulates HOTAIR in an autocrine manner, contributes to the EMT and to CSCs induced by CSE. These data define a link between inflammation and EMT, processes involved in the malignant transformation of cells caused by CSE. This link, mediated through lncRNAs, establishes a mechanism for CSE-induced lung carcinogenesis.

Koev IG, Feodorova YN, Kazakova MH, et al.
Glioblastoma multiforme classified as mesenchymal subtype.
Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2014 Jul-Sep; 56(3):215-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Recently, researchers have been considering as adverse prognostic factors in primary glioblastomas not only clinical indicators but also various cellular, genetic and immunological markers. The aim of the present article was to report a case of primary glioblastoma multiforme with poor survival in a patient after surgical intervention, and to determine the unfavorable prognostic markers.
CASE REPORT: We present a 71-year-old man with histologically verified glioblastoma multiforme and a postoperative survival of 48 days. The patient did not receive any radiotherapy and adjuvant therapy with temozolomide because of the short survival. Serum and transcription levels of TNF-α, CD44, YKL-40 and IL-6 were determined by molecular-biological and immunological analyses. We found very high transcription levels of the genes CD44, YKL-40 and IL-6, increased gene expression of TNF-α, and elevated serum concentrations of TNF-α, YKL-40 and IL-6 and reduced serum concentration of CD44.
CONCLUSION: Molecular-biological and immunological analyses support the hypothesis that glioblastoma multiforme is presented by a heterogeneous group of glial tumors with different clinical course and prognosis. The high expression levels of TNF-α, CD44, YKL-40, and IL-6 indicate that the tumor can be categorized as mesenchymal subtype of glioblastoma multiforme, which accounts for the rapid clinical course and lethal outcome of the condition.

Tang B, Wu W, Wei X, et al.
Activation of glioma cells generates immune tolerant NKT cells.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(50):34595-600 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/12/2015 Related Publications
Therapeutic outcomes of glioma are currently not encouraging. Tumor tolerance plays an important role in the pathogenesis of glioma. It is reported that micro RNAs (miR) are associated with tumor development. This study aims to investigate the role of miR-92a in the development of tolerant natural killer T (NKT) cells. In this study, U87 cells (a human glioma cell line) and primary glioma cells were prepared. The assessment of miR-92a was performed by real time RT-PCR. The expression of interleukin (IL)-10 and IL-6 in NKT cells was evaluated by flow cytometry. Results showed that abundant IL-6(+) IL-10(+) NKT cells were detected in glioma tissue. Cultures of glioma cells and NKT cells induced the expression of IL-6 and IL-10 in NKT cells. Glioma cells expressed miR-92a; the latter played a critical role in the induction of IL-6 and IL-10 expression in NKT cells. The expression of the antitumor molecules, including perforin, Fas ligand, and interferon-γ, was significantly attenuated compared with control NKT cells. The IL-6(+) IL-10(+) NKT cells showed less capability in the induction of apoptosis in glioma cells, but showed the immune suppressor functions on CD8(+) T cell activities. We conclude that glioma-derived miR-92a induces IL-6(+) IL-10(+) NKT cells; this fraction of NKT cells can suppress cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells.

Yu H, Lee H, Herrmann A, et al.
Revisiting STAT3 signalling in cancer: new and unexpected biological functions.
Nat Rev Cancer. 2014; 14(11):736-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Janus kinases (JAKs) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins, particularly STAT3, are among the most promising new targets for cancer therapy. In addition to interleukin-6 (IL-6) and its family members, multiple pathways, including G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and microRNAs were recently identified to regulate JAK-STAT signalling in cancer. Well known for its role in tumour cell proliferation, survival, invasion and immunosuppression, JAK-STAT3 signalling also promotes cancer through inflammation, obesity, stem cells and the pre-metastatic niche. In addition to its established role as a transcription factor in cancer, STAT3 regulates mitochondrion functions, as well as gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. Newly identified regulators and functions of JAK-STAT3 in tumours are important targets for potential therapeutic strategies in the treatment of cancer.

Li F, Li XJ, Qiao L, et al.
miR-98 suppresses melanoma metastasis through a negative feedback loop with its target gene IL-6.
Exp Mol Med. 2014; 46:e116 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 12/12/2015 Related Publications
Dysregulated microRNA (miRNA) expression has a critical role in tumor development and metastasis. However, the mechanism by which miRNAs control melanoma metastasis is unknown. Here, we report reduced miR-98 expression in melanoma tissues with increasing tumor stage as well as metastasis; its expression is also negatively associated with melanoma patient survival. Furthermore, we demonstrate that miR-98 inhibits melanoma cell migration in vitro as well as metastatic tumor size in vivo. We also found that IL-6 is a target gene of miR-98, and IL-6 represses miR-98 levels via the Stat3-NF-κB-lin28B pathway. In an in vivo melanoma model, we demonstrate that miR-98 reduces melanoma metastasis and increases survival in part by reducing IL-6 levels; it also decreases Stat3 and p65 phosphorylation as well as lin28B mRNA levels. These results suggest that miR-98 inhibits melanoma metastasis in part through a novel miR-98-IL-6-negative feedback loop.

Mutlu P, Yalcin S, Elci P, et al.
Association of -174G/C interleukin/6 gene polymorphism with the risk of chronic lymphocytic, chronic myelogenous and acute myelogenous leukemias in Turkish patients.
J BUON. 2014 Jul-Sep; 19(3):787-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between -174G/C interleukin-6 (IL-6) gene promoter polymorphism and susceptibility to chronic lymphocytic (CLL), chronic myelogenous (CML) and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in Turkish patients.
METHODS: The frequencies of -174G/C polymorphism were studied in 23 unrelated CLL, 25 CML and 17 AML patients and 30 healthy individuals. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped by the PCR-RFLP method.
RESULTS: A higher prevalence of the C allele was found in CLL, CML and AML patients. However, there were no statistically significant differences regarding either the genotype or the allelic frequencies of the -174G/C polymorphism between CLL, CML and AML cases.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that C allele is associated with risk of CLL, CML and AML susceptibility in Turkish patients.

Sun L, Sui L, Cong X, et al.
Low incidence of IL6ST (gp130) mutations in exon 6 in lung cancer of a Chinese cohort.
Cancer Genet. 2014 Jul-Aug; 207(7-8):291-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is an inflammation-associated epithelial carcinoma. A highly active interleukin 6 (IL-6)/glycoprotein 130 (gp130)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway has been identified in a subset of primary lung cancer and closely correlated with tumor progression and poor prognosis. In a previous study, the frequent occurrence of somatic gain-of-function mutations was observed in the gp130-encoding IL6ST gene in exon 6 in 60% of inflammatory hepatocellular adenomas. Prompted by this finding, we assessed 110 Chinese lung carcinomas using PCR and direct DNA sequencing but found no somatic mutation of IL6ST in exon 6. However, one new potential germline missense mutation c.599C>G was identified in one adenocarcinoma that harbors wild-type epidermal growth factor receptor and KRAS. Protein modeling analysis showed that this mutation might not affect the gp130 protein conformation. Moreover, activated STAT3 was observed in most of the lung tumor tissues at a higher level than that in matched normal lung tissues. In conclusion, the c.599C>G mutation may be a new single nucleotide polymorphism of IL6ST, but mutations in exon 6 of this gene are not apparently common genetic variations occurring and leading to constitutive activation of STAT3 in lung cancer.

Hendrayani SF, Al-Khalaf HH, Aboussekhra A
The cytokine IL-6 reactivates breast stromal fibroblasts through transcription factor STAT3-dependent up-regulation of the RNA-binding protein AUF1.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(45):30962-76 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 07/11/2015 Related Publications
The development and spread of mammary carcinomas require synergetic interplay between tumor cells and their microenvironment through paracrine secretions, which are still not well defined. We have shown here that interleukin-6 (IL-6), either recombinant or secreted from highly invasive breast cancer cells, down-regulates the tumor suppressor proteins p16(INK4A), p21(WAF1), and p53 and activates breast stromal fibroblasts in a paracrine manner. The formation of myofibroblasts requires p16(INK4A) down-regulation and the activation of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. Indeed, the transcription factor STAT3 positively controls the expression of the three major myofibroblast markers, SDF-1, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and TGF-β1, and mediates IL-6-related down-regulation of p16(INK4A), p21(WAF1), and p53 as well as the activation of stromal fibroblasts. Importantly, these effects were mediated through STAT3-dependent up-regulation of the mRNA-binding protein AUF1, whose promoter contains three canonical STAT3 binding sites. AUF1 binds the SDF-1, α-SMA, TGF-β1, and IL-6 mRNAs and reduces their turnover. Consequently, specific AUF1 down-regulation inhibits IL-6-dependent activation of breast stromal fibroblasts, whereas AUF1 ectopic expression of p37(AUF1) activated these cells and enhanced their paracrine induction of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in breast cancer cells, which shows a non-cell-autonomous oncogenic function of AUF1. Together, these results demonstrate a major role of IL-6 in activating breast stromal fibroblasts through STAT3-dependent AUF1 induction.

Snyder M, Huang J, Huang XY, Zhang JJ
A signal transducer and activator of transcription 3·Nuclear Factor κB (Stat3·NFκB) complex is necessary for the expression of fascin in metastatic breast cancer cells in response to interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(43):30082-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 24/10/2015 Related Publications
IL-6 mediated activation of Stat3 is a major signaling pathway in the process of breast cancer metastasis. One important mechanism by which the IL-6/Stat3 pathway promotes metastasis is through transcriptional regulation of the actin-bundling protein fascin. In this study, we further analyzed the transcriptional regulation of the fascin gene promoter. We show that in addition to IL-6, TNF-α increases Stat3 and NFκB binding to the fascin promoter to induce its expression. We also show that NFκB is required for Stat3 recruitment to the fascin promoter in response to IL-6. Furthermore, Stat3 and NFκB form a protein complex in response to cytokine stimulation. Finally, we demonstrate that an overlapping STAT/NFκB site in a highly conserved 160-bp region of the fascin promoter is sufficient and necessary to induce transcription in response to IL-6 and TNF-α.

Sheshadri N, Catanzaro JM, Bott AJ, et al.
SCCA1/SERPINB3 promotes oncogenesis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition via the unfolded protein response and IL6 signaling.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6318-29 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
The serine/cysteine protease inhibitor SCCA1 (SERPINB3) is upregulated in many advanced cancers with poor prognosis, but there is limited information about whether it makes functional contributions to malignancy. Here, we show that SCCA1 expression promoted oncogenic transformation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in mammary epithelial cells, and that SCCA1 silencing in breast cancer cells halted their proliferation. SCCA1 overexpression in neu(+) mammary tumors increased the unfolded protein response (UPR), IL6 expression, and inflammatory phenotypes. Mechanistically, SCCA1 induced a prolonged nonlethal increase in the UPR that was sufficient to activate NF-κB and expression of the protumorigenic cytokine IL6. Overall, our findings established that SCCA1 contributes to tumorigenesis by promoting EMT and a UPR-dependent induction of NF-κB and IL6 autocrine signaling that promotes a protumorigenic inflammation.

Jiang F, Wang X, Liu Q, et al.
Inhibition of TGF-β/SMAD3/NF-κB signaling by microRNA-491 is involved in arsenic trioxide-induced anti-angiogenesis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Toxicol Lett. 2014; 231(1):55-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Current standard practices for treatment of HCC are less than satisfactory because of metastasis and recurrence, which are primarily attributed to the angiogenesis. So, the anti-angiogenesis treatment has become the new approach for HCC therapy. In addition to treating leukemia, arsenic trioxide (As2O3) also suppresses other solid tumors, including HCC. However, the roles of As2O3 in the angiogenesis potential of HCC cells remain unclear. In our present study, As2O3 attenuated the angiogenic ability by the microRNA-491 (miR-491)-mediated inhibition of TGF-β/SMAD3/NF-κB signal pathway in MHCC97H and MHCC97L cells. Briefly, in these cells, As2O3 improved the expression of miR-491 via DNA-demethylation; miR-491, which targeted the SMAD3-3'-UTR, decreased the expression/function of SMAD3, leading to the inactivation of NF-κB/IL-6/STAT-3 signaling; knockdown of miR-491 abolished the As2O3-induced inhibitions of the TGF-β/SMAD3/NF-κB pathway, the VEGF secretion, and the angiogenesis. By understanding a novel mechanism whereby As2O3 inhibits the angiogenic potential in HCC cells, our study would help in the design of future strategies of developing As2O3 as a potential chemopreventive agent when used alone or in combination with other current anticancer drugs.

Robertson CL, Srivastava J, Siddiq A, et al.
Genetic deletion of AEG-1 prevents hepatocarcinogenesis.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(21):6184-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/11/2015 Related Publications
Activation of the oncogene AEG-1 (MTDH, LYRIC) has been implicated recently in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In mice, HCC can be initiated by exposure to the carcinogen DEN, which has been shown to rely upon activation of NF-κB in liver macrophages. Because AEG-1 is an essential component of NF-κB activation, we interrogated the susceptibility of mice lacking the AEG-1 gene to DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. AEG-1-deficient mice displayed resistance to DEN-induced HCC and lung metastasis. No difference was observed in the response to growth factor signaling or activation of AKT, ERK, and β-catenin, compared with wild-type control animals. However, AEG-1-deficient hepatocytes and macrophages exhibited a relative defect in NF-κB activation. Mechanistic investigations showed that IL6 production and STAT3 activation, two key mediators of HCC development, were also deficient along with other biologic and epigenetics findings in the tumor microenvironment, confirming that AEG-1 supports an NF-κB-mediated inflammatory state that drives HCC development. Overall, our findings offer in vivo proofs that AEG-1 is essential for NF-κB activation and hepatocarcinogenesis, and they reveal new roles for AEG-1 in shaping the tumor microenvironment for HCC development.

Neemat K, Rania K, Tarek M, Hamdy AA
Effect of 13q deletion on IL-6 production in patients with multiple myeloma: a hypothesis may hold true.
Clin Lab. 2014; 60(8):1393-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have shown a correlation between 13q deletion and poor prognosis in multiple myeloma (MM), but the mechanisms are not fully understood. Earlier studies suggest that this lesion involves large segments or the entire long arm involving the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene. In myeloma, Rb gene is believed to down regulate interleukin-6 (IL-6) which plays a central role in the pathogenesis of MM. Therefore, it has been hypothesized that loss of the Rb gene might be associated with very high expression of IL-6 and subsequent bad prognosis. Hence this study evaluates IL-6 production in MM patients with and without 13q deletions and assesses their response to conventional and new therapeutic regimens.
METHODS: Forty MM patients and 20 matched controls were included in this study. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis was performed using LSI 13q14-specific probe. Serum levels of IL-6 were determined by ELISA. All patients received conventional chemotherapy. Refractory patients received other therapeutic regimens of Thalidomide or Bortezomib.
RESULTS: Significant increase (p < 0.001) of IL-6 production was recorded in patients with a 13q deletion compared to patients with normal chromosome 13q status. These patients were also refractory to conventional chemotherapy but showed striking response to Thalidomide or Bortezomib.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that 13q deletions are associated with increased production of IL-6 in MM and this could be a possible cause of the associated bad prognosis. In addition, the results also show the potential to improve responses in patients with refractory MM with the introduction of novel therapies.

Fuchigami T, Kibe T, Koyama H, et al.
Regulation of IL-6 and IL-8 production by reciprocal cell-to-cell interactions between tumor cells and stromal fibroblasts through IL-1α in ameloblastoma.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 451(4):491-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ameloblastoma is an odontogenic benign tumor that occurs in the jawbone, which invades bone and reoccurs locally. This tumor is treated by wide surgical excision and causes various problems, including changes in facial countenance and mastication disorders. Ameloblastomas have abundant tumor stroma, including fibroblasts and immune cells. Although cell-to-cell interactions are considered to be involved in the pathogenesis of many diseases, intercellular communications in ameloblastoma have not been fully investigated. In this study, we examined interactions between tumor cells and stromal fibroblasts via soluble factors in ameloblastoma. We used a human ameloblastoma cell line (AM-3 ameloblastoma cells), human fibroblasts (HFF-2 fibroblasts), and primary-cultured fibroblasts from human ameloblastoma tissues, and analyzed the effect of ameloblastoma-associated cell-to-cell communications on gene expression, cytokine secretion, cellular motility and proliferation. AM-3 ameloblastoma cells secreted higher levels of interleukin (IL)-1α than HFF-2 fibroblasts. Treatment with conditioned medium from AM-3 ameloblastoma cells upregulated gene expression and secretion of IL-6 and IL-8 of HFF-2 fibroblasts and primary-cultured fibroblast cells from ameloblastoma tissues. The AM3-stimulated production of IL-6 and IL-8 in fibroblasts was neutralized by pretreatment of AM-3 cells with anti-IL-1α antibody and IL-1 receptor antagonist. Reciprocally, cellular motility of AM-3 ameloblastoma cells was stimulated by HFF-2 fibroblasts in IL-6 and IL-8 dependent manner. In conclusion, ameloblastoma cells and stromal fibroblasts behave interactively via these cytokines to create a microenvironment that leads to the extension of ameloblastomas.

Mathew E, Collins MA, Fernandez-Barrena MG, et al.
The transcription factor GLI1 modulates the inflammatory response during pancreatic tissue remodeling.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(40):27727-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest human malignancies, is almost uniformly associated with a mutant, constitutively active form of the oncogene Kras. Studies in genetically engineered mouse models have defined a requirement for oncogenic KRAS in both the formation of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias, the most common precursor lesions to pancreatic cancer, and in the maintenance and progression of these lesions. Previous work using an inducible model allowing tissue-specific and reversible expression of oncogenic Kras in the pancreas indicates that inactivation of this GTPase at the pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia stage promotes pancreatic tissue repair. Here, we extend these findings to identify GLI1, a transcriptional effector of the Hedgehog pathway, as a central player in pancreatic tissue repair upon Kras inactivation. Deletion of a single allele of Gli1 results in improper stromal remodeling and perdurance of the inflammatory infiltrate characteristic of pancreatic tumorigenesis. Strikingly, this partial loss of Gli1 affects activated fibroblasts in the pancreas and the recruitment of immune cells that are vital for tissue recovery. Analysis of the mechanism using expression and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays identified a subset of cytokines, including IL-6, mIL-8, Mcp-1, and M-csf (Csf1), as direct GLI1 target genes potentially mediating this phenomenon. Finally, we demonstrate that canonical Hedgehog signaling, a known regulator of Gli1 activity, is required for pancreas recovery. Collectively, these data delineate a new pathway controlling tissue repair and highlight the importance of GLI1 in regulation of the pancreatic microenvironment during this cellular process.

Song TY, Lim J, Kim B, et al.
The role of tumor suppressor menin in IL-6 regulation in mouse islet tumor cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 451(2):308-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Menin is a gene product of multiple endocrine neoplasia type1 (Men1), an inherited familial cancer syndrome characterized by tumors of endocrine tissues. To gain insight about how menin performs an endocrine cell-specific tumor suppressor function, we investigated the possibility that menin was integrated in a cancer-associated inflammatory pathway in a cell type-specific manner. Here, we showed that the expression of IL-6, a proinflammatory cytokine, was specifically elevated in mouse islet tumor cells upon depletion of menin and Men(-/-) MEF cells, but not in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Histone H3 lysine (K) 9 methylation, but not H3 K27 or K4 methylation, was involved in menin-dependent IL-6 regulation. Menin occupied the IL-6 promoter and recruited SUV39H1 to induce H3 K9 methylation. Our findings provide a molecular insight that menin-dependent induction of H3 K9 methylation in the cancer-associated interleukin gene might be linked to preventing endocrine-specific tumorigenesis.

Li CH, Xu F, Chow S, et al.
Hepatitis B virus X protein promotes hepatocellular carcinoma transformation through interleukin-6 activation of microRNA-21 expression.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(15):2560-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the major risk factor of HCC. The virus encodes HBV X (HBx) protein that plays a critical role in the development of HCC. Studies have revealed numerous HBx-altered genes and signalling pathways that heavily contribute to tumourigenesis of non-tumour hepatocytes. However, the role of HBx in regulating other critical gene regulators such as microRNAs is poorly understood, which impedes the exploration of a complete HBx-associated carcinogenic network. Besides, critical microRNAs that drive the transformation of non-tumour hepatocytes are yet to be identified. Here, we overexpressed C-terminal truncated HBx protein in a non-tumour hepatocyte cell line MIHA, and measured a panel of cancer-associated miRNAs. We observed that oncogenic miR-21 was upregulated upon ectopic expression of this viral protein variant. HBx-miR-21 pathway was prevalent in HCC cells as inhibition of HBx in Hep3B and PLC/PRF/5 cells significantly suppressed miR-21 expression. Subsequently, we showed that the upregulation of miR-21 was mediated by HBx-induced interleukin-6 pathway followed by activation of STAT3 transcriptional factor. The high dependency of miR-21 expression to HBx protein suggested a unique viral oncogenic pathway that could aberrantly affect a network of gene expression. Importantly, miR-21 was essential in the HBx-induced transformation of non-tumour hepatocytes. Inhibition of miR-21 effectively attenuated anchorage-independent colony formation and subcutaneous tumour growth of MIHA cells. Our study suggested that overexpression of miR-21 was critical to promote early carcinogenesis of hepatocytes upon HBV infection.

Qi L, Ding Y
Involvement of the CREB5 regulatory network in colorectal cancer metastasis.
Yi Chuan. 2014; 36(7):679-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The signal regulatory network involved in colorectal cancer metastasis is complicated and thus the search for key control steps in the network is of great significance for unraveling colorectal cancer metastasis mechanism and finding drug-target site. Previous studies suggested that CREB5 (cAMP responsive element binding protein 5) might play key role in the metastatic signal network of colorectal cancer. Through colorectal cancer expression profile and enriching analysis of the effect of CREB5 gene expression levels on colorectal cancer molecular events, we found that these molecular events are correlated with tumor metastasis. Based on the feature that CREB5 could combine with c-Jun to form heterodimer, together with enriched binding sites for transcription factor AP-1, we identified 16 genes which were up-regulated in the CREB5 high-expression group, contained AP-1 binding sites, and participated in cancer pathway. The molecular network involving these 16 genes, in particular, CSF1R, MMP9, PDGFRB, FIGF and IL6, regulates cell migration. Therefore, CREB5 might accelerate the metastasis of colorectal cancer by regulating these five key genes.

Oduor CI, Chelimo K, Ouma C, et al.
Interleukin-6 and interleukin-10 gene promoter polymorphisms and risk of endemic Burkitt lymphoma.
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014; 91(3):649-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/09/2015 Related Publications
Overexpression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-10 in endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL) may facilitate tumorigenesis by providing a permissive cytokine milieu. Promoter polymorphisms influence interindividual differences in cytokine production. We hypothesized that children genetically predisposed for elevated cytokine levels may be more susceptible to eBL. Using case-control samples from western Kenya consisting of 117 eBL cases and 88 ethnically matched healthy controls, we tested for the association between eBL risk and IL-10 (rs1800896, rs1800871, and rs1800872) and IL-6 (rs1800795) promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as well as IL-10 promoter haplotypes. In addition, the association between these variants and Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) load was examined. Results showed that selected IL-10 and IL-6 promoter SNPs and IL-10 promoter haplotypes were not associated with risk eBL or EBV levels in EBV-seropositive children. Findings from this study reveal that common variants within the IL-10 and IL-6 promoters do not independently increase eBL risk in this vulnerable population.

Lee HJ, Zhuang G, Cao Y, et al.
Drug resistance via feedback activation of Stat3 in oncogene-addicted cancer cells.
Cancer Cell. 2014; 26(2):207-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pathway-targeted cancer drugs can produce dramatic responses that are invariably limited by the emergence of drug-resistant cells. We found that many drug-treated "oncogene-addicted" cancer cells engage a positive feedback loop leading to Stat3 activation, consequently promoting cell survival and limiting overall drug response. This was observed in cancer cells driven by diverse activated kinases, including EGFR, HER2, ALK, and MET, as well as mutant KRAS. Specifically, MEK inhibition led to autocrine activation of Stat3 via the FGF receptor and JAK kinases, and pharmacological inhibition of MEK together with JAK and FGFR enhanced tumor regression. These findings suggest that inhibition of a Stat3 feedback loop may augment the response to a broad spectrum of drugs that target pathways of oncogene addiction.

Yu J, Wang Y, Yan F, et al.
Noncanonical NF-κB activation mediates STAT3-stimulated IDO upregulation in myeloid-derived suppressor cells in breast cancer.
J Immunol. 2014; 193(5):2574-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Immunotherapy for cancer treatment is achieved through the activation of competent immune effector cells and the inhibition of immunosuppressive cells, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Although MDSCs have been shown to contribute to breast cancer development, the mechanism underlying MDSC-mediated immunosuppression is unclear. We have identified a poorly differentiated MDSC subset in breast cancer-suppressing T cell function through STAT3-dependent IDO upregulation. In this study we investigated the mechanisms underlying aberrant expression of IDO in MDSCs. MDSCs were induced by coculturing human CD33(+) myeloid progenitors with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Increased STAT3 activation in MDSCs was correlated with activation of the noncanonical NF-κB pathway, including increased NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) protein level, phosphorylation of cytoplasmic inhibitor of NF-κB kinase α and p100, and RelB-p52 nuclear translocation. Blocking STAT3 activation with the small molecule inhibitor JSI-124 significantly inhibited the accumulation of NIK and IDO expression in MDSCs. Knockdown of NIK in MDSCs suppressed IDO expression but not STAT3 activation. RelB-p52 dimers were found to directly bind to the IDO promoter, leading to IDO expression in MDSCs. IL-6 was found to stimulate STAT3-dependent, NF-κB-mediated IDO upregulation in MDSCs. Furthermore, significant positive correlation between the numbers of pSTAT3(+) MDSCs, IDO(+) MDSCs, and NIK(+) MDSCs was observed in human breast cancers. These results demonstrate a STAT3/NF-κB/IDO pathway in breast cancer-derived MDSCs, which provides insight into understanding immunosuppressive mechanisms of MDSCs in breast cancer.

Korhan P, Erdal E, Atabey N
MiR-181a-5p is downregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and suppresses motility, invasion and branching-morphogenesis by directly targeting c-Met.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 450(4):1304-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase has been regarded as a promising therapeutic target for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown as a novel mechanism to control c-Met expression in cancer. In this study, we investigate the potential contribution of miR-181a-5p dysregulation to the biology of c-Met overexpression in HCC. Herein, we found an inverse expression pattern between miR-181a-5p and c-Met expression in normal, cirrhotic and HCC liver tissues. Luciferase assay confirmed that miR-181a-5p binding to the 3'-UTR of c-Met downregulated the expression of c-Met in HCC cells. Overexpression of miR-181a-5p suppressed both HGF-independent and -dependent activation of c-Met and consequently diminished branching-morphogenesis and invasion. Combined treatment with miR-181a-5p and c-Met inhibitor led to a further inhibition of c-Met-driven cellular activities. Knockdown of miR-181a-5p promoted HGF-independent/-dependent signaling of c-Met and accelerated migration, invasion and branching-morphogenesis. In conclusion, our results demonstrated for the first time that c-Met is a functional target gene of miR-181a-5p and the loss of miR-181a-5p expression led to the activation of c-Met-mediated oncogenic signaling in hepatocarcinogenesis. These findings display a novel molecular mechanism of c-Met regulation in HCC and strategies to increase miR-181a5p level might be an alternative approach for the enhancement of the inhibitory effects of c-Met inhibitors.

Frittoli E, Palamidessi A, Marighetti P, et al.
A RAB5/RAB4 recycling circuitry induces a proteolytic invasive program and promotes tumor dissemination.
J Cell Biol. 2014; 206(2):307-28 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/09/2015 Related Publications
The mechanisms by which tumor cells metastasize and the role of endocytic proteins in this process are not well understood. We report that overexpression of the GTPase RAB5A, a master regulator of endocytosis, is predictive of aggressive behavior and metastatic ability in human breast cancers. RAB5A is necessary and sufficient to promote local invasion and distant dissemination of various mammary and nonmammary tumor cell lines, and this prometastatic behavior is associated with increased intratumoral cell motility. Specifically, RAB5A is necessary for the formation of invadosomes, membrane protrusions specialized in extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation. RAB5A promotes RAB4- and RABENOSYN-5-dependent endo/exocytic cycles (EECs) of critical cargos (membrane-type 1 matrix metalloprotease [MT1-MMP] and β3 integrin) required for invadosome formation in response to motogenic stimuli. This trafficking circuitry is necessary for spatially localized hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/MET signaling that drives invasive, proteolysis-dependent chemotaxis in vitro and for conversion of ductal carcinoma in situ to invasive ductal carcinoma in vivo. Thus, RAB5A/RAB4 EECs promote tumor dissemination by controlling a proteolytic, mesenchymal invasive program.

Pandey MK, Kale VP, Song C, et al.
Gambogic acid inhibits multiple myeloma mediated osteoclastogenesis through suppression of chemokine receptor CXCR4 signaling pathways.
Exp Hematol. 2014; 42(10):883-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone disease, characterized by the presence of lytic lesions and osteoporosis is the hallmark of multiple myeloma (MM). Stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1α) and its receptor, CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), has been implicated as a regulator of bone resorption, suggesting that agents that can suppress SDF1α/CXCR4 signaling might inhibit osteoclastogenesis, a process closely linked to bone resorption. We, therefore, investigated whether gambogic acid (GA), a xanthone, could inhibit CXCR4 signaling and suppress osteoclastogenesis induced by MM cells. Through docking studies we predicted that GA directly interacts with CXCR4. This xanthone down-regulates the expression of CXCR4 on MM cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The down-regulation of CXCR4 was not due to proteolytic degradation, but rather GA suppresses CXCR4 mRNA expression by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) DNA binding. This was further confirmed by quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, as GA inhibits p65 binding at the CXCR4 promoter. GA suppressed SDF-1α-induced chemotaxis of MM cells and downstream signaling of CXCR4 by inhibiting phosphorylation of Akt, p38, and Erk1/2 in MM cells. GA abrogated the RANKL-induced differentiation of macrophages to osteoclasts in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, we found that MM cells induced differentiation of macrophages to osteoclasts, and that GA suppressed this process. Importantly, suppression of osteoclastogenesis by GA was mediated through IL-6 inhibition. Overall, our results show that GA is a novel inhibitor of CXCR4 expression and has a strong potential to suppress osteoclastogenesis mediated by MM cells.

Ataie-Kachoie P, Pourgholami MH, Richardson DR, Morris DL
Gene of the month: Interleukin 6 (IL-6).
J Clin Pathol. 2014; 67(11):932-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Interleukin 6 (IL-6) gene encodes the classic proinflammatory cytokine IL-6. It is also known as interferon-β2 (IFN-β2), B cell stimulatory factor-2 and hybridoma/plasmacytoma growth factor. IL-6 is a multifunctional cytokine with a central role in many physiological inflammatory and immunological processes. Due to its major role in initiation as well as resolving inflammation, deregulation of IL-6 is a mainstay of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, IL-6 has been shown to be implicated in pathogenesis of many human malignancies. Thus, a better understanding of IL-6 and its role in various pathological conditions could enable the development of strategies to use it as a therapeutic target. This short review focuses on the structure, regulation and biological activities of IL-6. In addition we discuss the role of IL-6 in diseases with inflammatory background and cancer and also the therapeutic applications of anti-IL-6 agents.

Prasad VG, Kawade S, Jayashree BS, et al.
Iminoflavones combat 1,2-dimethyl hydrazine-induced aberrant crypt foci development in colon cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:569130 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/09/2015 Related Publications
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the antitumor potential of iminoflavones in in vitro and in vivo anticancer models. Preliminary screening in various cancer cell lines revealed four potential iminoflavones out of which IMF-8 was taken based on its activity against colon cancer cells. This was further confirmed by observing the nuclear changes in the cells by AO/EB and Hoechst 33342 staining studies. In vivo activity was assessed by dimethyl hydrazine-(DMH-) induced colon cancer model in rats. Animals were administered DMH (20 mg/kg, b.w. for 10 weeks and 30 mg/kg b.w., i.p. for 10 weeks) and were supplemented with (IMF-8) iminoflavone-8 (200 mg/kg, p.o. for 14 days). Results showed that DMH induced 100% aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and polyps which were significantly reduced in the IMF-8 treated group. IMF-8 significantly increased the catalase and GSH levels whereas it reduced the TNF- α and IL-6 levels markedly which suggests the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory actions of flavonoids present in IMF-8. The histopathological images of the IMF-8 treated colon showed no signs of mucosal crypt abscess. These findings suggest that the semi-synthetic iminoflavones, IMF-8, effectively inhibit DMH-induced ACFs and colonic crypts by alleviating the oxidative stress and suppressing the inflammation.

Bi C, Chng WJ
MicroRNA: important player in the pathobiology of multiple myeloma.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:521586 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/09/2015 Related Publications
Recent studies have revealed a pivotal role played by a class of small, noncoding RNAs, microRNA (miRNA), in multiple myeloma (MM), a plasma cell (PC) malignancy causing significant morbidity and mortality. Deregulated miRNA expression in patient's PCs and plasma has been associated with tumor progression, molecular subtypes, clinical staging, prognosis, and drug response in MM. A number of important oncogenic and tumor suppressor miRNAs have been discovered to regulate important genes and pathways such as p53 and IL6-JAK-STAT signaling. miRNAs may also form complex regulatory circuitry with genetic and epigenetic machineries, the deregulation of which could lead to malignant transformation and progression. The translational potential of miRNAs in the clinic is being increasingly recognized that they could represent novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets. This review comprehensively summarizes current progress in delineating the roles of miRNAs in MM pathobiology and management.

Yan HQ, Huang XB, Ke SZ, et al.
Interleukin 6 augments lung cancer chemotherapeutic resistance via ataxia-telangiectasia mutated/NF-kappaB pathway activation.
Cancer Sci. 2014; 105(9):1220-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although it is known that ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) contribute to multiple drug resistance (MDR) in tumor chemotherapy, the exact role of ATM activation in MDR resulting from increased IL-6 expression is still unclear. In the present study, we demonstrate that the activation of the ATM-NF-kappaB pathway, resulting from increased IL-6 expression, plays a central role in augmented chemoresistance in lung cancer cell lines. This result was supported by the increased expressions of Bcl-2, Mcl-1, Bcl-xl, and the upregulation of MDR-associated protein ABCG2. The higher level of IL-6 reveals not only higher ATM/NF-kappaB activity but also increased expressions of ABCG2, Bcl-2, Mcl-1 and Bcl-xl. Most importantly, lung cancer cells themselves upregulated IL-6 secretion by activating the p38/NF-kappaB pathway through treatment with cisplatin and camptothecin. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that chemotherapeutic agents increase IL-6 expression, hence activating the ATM/NF-kappaB pathway, augmenting anti-apoptotic protein expression and contributing to MDR. This indicates that both IL-6 and ATM are potential targets for the treatment of chemotherapeutic resistance in lung cancer.

Zhou JY, Chen X, Zhao J, et al.
MicroRNA-34a overcomes HGF-mediated gefitinib resistance in EGFR mutant lung cancer cells partly by targeting MET.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 351(2):265-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
In non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that harbours an activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation, over-expression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is an important mechanism involved in the acquired resistance to EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) by restoring activity of the PI3K/Akt pathway via phosphorylation of MET. In our study, we found that the forced expression of miR-34a inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis partly by targeting MET in HGF-induced gefitinib-resistant HCC827 and PC-9 cells. Furthermore, dramatic tumour regression was observed in the miR-34a plus gefitinib group in HGF-induced gefitinib resistant mouse xenograft models. This study demonstrates for the first time that miR-34a rescues HGF-induced gefitinib resistance in EGFR mutant NSCLC cells.

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