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Int J Cancer. 2004 Sep 20;111(5):653-61.

IL-6 as an intracrine growth factor for renal carcinoma cell lines.

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Equipe Cytokine et Cancer, Unité INSERM 590, Lyon, France.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is produced at high levels by renal cell carcinoma cell lines. The molecular mechanisms involved in its possible role as an autocrine growth factor were investigated. IL-6 and IL-6 receptor expression was investigated in 8 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines. The modulation of RCC cell line proliferation by an anti-IL-6 Ab, an IL-6 antisense oligonucleotide (ASON) directed against the second exon of IL-6 and cytokines inhibiting IL-6 production (IL-4 and IL-13) was investigated. All 8 RCC cell lines expressed IL-6 mRNA, produced IL-6 and expressed the soluble and membrane-bound gp130 chain of IL-6 receptor. The gp80 chain of IL-6 receptor was undetectable at the surface of the 8 RCC cell lines tested, while the soluble form of gp80 was detectable in the supernatant of one of these cell lines. The addition of a blocking IL-6 Ab did not inhibit the proliferation of any of the 8 RCC cell lines. In contrast, IL-6 ASON inhibited specifically IL-6 production and the proliferation of all RCC cell lines. Exogenous IL-6 failed to restore RCC cell line proliferation blocked by ASON, indicating that IL-6 acts through an intracrine loop in RCC cell lines. IL-13 and IL-4 inhibited the proliferation of 7 of the 8 cell lines without interfering with IL-6 or IL-6 receptor expression. IL-6 ASON inhibited the proliferation of the 8 RCC cell lines tested additively with IL-4 or IL-13. IL-6 is an intracrine growth factor in renal cell carcinoma cell lines.

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