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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jan 18;97(2):734-9.

IL-18 regulates IL-1beta-dependent hepatic melanoma metastasis via vascular cell adhesion molecule-1.

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School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Vizcaya, Spain.


Proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), promote cancer cell adhesion and liver metastases by up-regulating the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) on hepatic sinusoidal endothelium (HSE). In this study, hepatic metastasis after intrasplenically injected mouse B16 melanoma (B16M) cells was reduced 84-95% in mice with null mutations for either IL-1beta or the IL-1beta-converting enzyme (ICE, caspase-1) compared with wild-type mice. On day 12, 47% of wild-type mice were dead compared with 19% of either IL-1beta or ICE-deficient mice. In vitro, conditioned medium from B16M cells (B16M-CM) induced the release of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta from cultures of primary murine HSE. The effect of B16M-CM on HSE resulted in increased numbers of B16M cells adhering to HSE, which was completely abrogated by a specific inhibitor of ICE, anti-IL-18 or IL-18-binding protein. Exogenous IL-18 added to HSE also increased the number of adhering melanoma cells; however, this was not affected by IL-1 receptor blockade or TNF neutralization but rather by anti-VCAM-1. These results demonstrate a role for IL-1beta and IL-18 in the development of hepatic metastases of B16M in vivo. In vitro, soluble products from B16M cells stimulate HSE to sequentially release TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-18. The IL-18 cytokine increases expression of VCAM-1 and the adherence of melanoma cells.

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