The effect of interleukin 6 (IL-6) on normal and human mammary carcinoma epithelial cells was studied. IL-6 inhibited the growth of estrogen receptor-positive [ER(+)] breast cancer cell lines, which underwent apoptosis with prolonged treatment. In contrast, ER(-) breast cancer cell lines were resistant to IL-6-mediated growth inhibition. By examining the components of the IL-6 receptor (IL-6R) system, we found that ER(+) breast cancer cells expressed predominantly soluble IL-6Rα, whereas the ER(-) breast cancer cells expressed primarily the transmembrane form of the IL-6R, gp130. In addition, detectable levels of IL-6 were secreted into the medium by ER(-) but not ER(+) breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the supernatant obtained from IL-6-secreting, ER(-) cells suppressed the growth of IL-6-sensitive, ER(+) breast cancer cells in a paracrine fashion. Although IL-6 is secreted by ER(-) breast cancer cells, this cytokine does not seem to stimulate the proliferation of these cells in an autocrine fashion. These studies indicate that IL-6 can regulate the growth of normal and transformed human mammary epithelial cells differentially, and that IL-6 secretion by some ER(-) breast cancer cells can function as a paracrine growth factor, suppressing the growth of ER(+) breast cancer cells in vitro.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical Cancer Research|
|State||Published - Jan 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research