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J Clin Invest. 2007 Dec;117(12):3988-4002.

IL-6 triggers malignant features in mammospheres from human ductal breast carcinoma and normal mammary gland.

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1
Center for Applied Biomedical Research, St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

High serum levels of IL-6 correlate with poor outcome in breast cancer patients. However, no data are available on the relationship between IL-6 and mammary stem/progenitor cells, which may fuel the genesis of breast cancer in vivo. Herein, we address this issue in the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line and in primary human mammospheres (MS), multicellular structures enriched in stem/progenitor cells of the mammary gland. MS from node invasive breast carcinoma tissues expressed IL-6 mRNA at higher levels than did MS from matched non-neoplastic mammary glands. In addition, IL-6 mRNA was detected only in basal-like breast carcinoma tissues, an aggressive breast carcinoma variant showing stem cell features. IL-6 treatment triggered Notch-3-dependent upregulation of the Notch ligand Jagged-1 and promotion of MS and MCF-7-derived spheroid growth. Moreover, IL-6 induced Notch-3-dependent upregulation of the carbonic anhydrase IX gene and promoted a hypoxia-resistant/invasive phenotype in MCF-7 cells and MS. Finally, autocrine IL-6 signaling relied upon Notch-3 activity to sustain the aggressive features of MCF-7-derived hypoxia-selected cells. In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that IL-6 induces malignant features in Notch-3-expressing stem/progenitor cells from human ductal breast carcinoma and normal mammary gland.

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PMID:
18060036
PMCID:
PMC2096439
DOI:
10.1172/JCI32533
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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