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Histopathology. 2005 Jul;47(1):82-9.

IL-6, its receptors and its relationship with bcl-2 and bax proteins in infiltrating and in situ human breast carcinoma.

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Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, University of Alcalá and Department of Pathology, Hospital Principe de Asturias, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.



To characterize the expression pattern of IL-6 and its receptors (IL-6R(alpha) and gp130), to relate this pattern to bcl-2 and bax expression and to elucidate the effects on the proliferation/apoptosis equilibrium in benign conditions and in situ and infiltrating breast cancer.


The immunoexpression of IL-6 and its receptors (IL-6R(alpha) and gp130), and their relationship with bcl-2 and bax proteins, were studied in in situ and infiltrating tumours and in benign breast lesions by means of Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The percentages of samples positive for IL-6, bcl-2 and bax and their immunoreaction densities were higher in in situ carcinomas and infiltrating tumours than in benign lesions; although in in situ lesions were not so high as in infiltrating tumours, except for bax, whose immunoexpression was as weak as in benign conditions, resulting in a bcl-2/bax ratio higher than in infiltrating tumours.


The high expression of IL-6 and its receptors in tumours might be related to the enhanced cell proliferation occurring in breast cancer. IL-6 could act by increasing bcl-2 expression and thus altering the proliferation/apoptosis balance toward neoplastic cell proliferation. The increased bax immunoreactivity observed only in infiltrating tumours, which was not so high as the increase in bcl-2 immunoreactivity, might be interpreted as an attempt to hinder cell proliferation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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