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Oncogene. 2002 May 16;21(22):3552-61.

N-myc oncogene overexpression down-regulates IL-6; evidence that IL-6 inhibits angiogenesis and suppresses neuroblastoma tumor growth.

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Laboratory of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.


Angiogenesis is an indispensable prerequisite for the progression and metastasis of solid malignancies. Tumor angiogenesis appears to be governed by alterations of tumor suppressor or oncogenes operant in a broad range of tumors. We have addressed this issue in neuroblastoma, a malignancy characterized by the near-exclusive amplification and overexpression of the N-Myc oncogene. Here, we report that N-Myc overexpression results in down-regulation of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and that IL-6 is an inhibitor of endothelial cell proliferation and VEGF-induced rabbit corneal angiogenesis. STAT3 is instrumental for IL-6 activity as infection with adenoviruses expressing a phosphorylation deficient STAT3 mutant renders endothelial cells insensitive to the antiproliferative action of IL-6. Finally, though IL-6 does not influence neuroblastoma cell growth, IL-6-expressing xenograft tumors in mice exhibit reduced neovascularization and suppressed growth. Our data shed new light on the mechanisms by which N-myc oncogene amplification enhances the malignant phenotype in neuroblastomas.

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