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Int J Cancer. 1992 May 8;51(2):296-301.

Hematopoietic growth factors secreted by seven human pleural mesothelioma cell lines: interleukin-6 production as a common feature.

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Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


Seven mesothelioma cell lines, established from patients with pleural mesothelioma, exhibited substantial heterogeneity regarding in vitro morphology and growth characteristics. Media conditioned by these cell lines and by MeT5A normal mesothelial cells were examined for (i) colony formation on human bone-marrow cells, (ii) hematopoietic growth-factor content and (iii) mitogenic activity on mesothelioma cells. Colony-stimulating activity was produced only by the ZL34 cell line. Analysis of conditioned media by ELISA revealed that all mesothelioma cell lines constitutively produced IL-6, while the MeT5A normal mesothelial cells did not; in addition, GM-CSF and G-CSF were detected in the supernatant of the ZL34 cell line. Using a 3H-thymidine incorporation assay, we showed that all mesothelioma cell lines produced mitogenic activity in the culture supernatant, in contrast to the MeT5A normal mesothelial cells. The mitogenic effect of the hematopoietic growth factors detected in mesothelioma culture supernatants was tested on mesothelioma cells and on MeT5A normal mesothelial cells: IL-6, GM-CSF and G-CSF did not stimulate any DNA synthesis. Our results suggest that these hematopoietic growth factors do not act as autocrine growth factors. A common feature of this panel of mesothelioma cell lines is the production of IL-6; although the biological significance of the aberrant production of cytokines by mesotheliomas remains unclear, IL-6 might be involved in paraneoplastic syndromes such as thrombocytosis.

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