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Mol Cancer Res. 2009 May;7(5):624-33. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0201. Epub 2009 May 12.

Secreted interleukin-1alpha induces a metastatic phenotype in pancreatic cancer by sustaining a constitutive activation of nuclear factor-kappaB.

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Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) is constitutively activated in most pancreatic cancer tissues and cell lines but not in normal pancreas nor in immortalized/nontumorigenic human pancreatic ductal epithelial cells. Inhibition of constitutive NF-kappaB activation in pancreatic cancer cell lines suppresses tumorigenesis and tumor metastasis. Recently, we identified autocrine secretion of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1alpha as the mechanism of constitutive NF-kappaB activation in metastatic pancreatic cancer cell lines. However, the role of IL-1alpha in determining the metastatic potential of pancreatic tumor remains to be further investigated. In the current study, we stably expressed IL-1alpha in the nonmetastatic, IL-1alpha-negative MiaPaCa-2 cell lines. Our results showed that the secretion of IL-1alpha in MiaPaCa-2 cells constitutively activated NF-kappaB and increased the expression of NF-kappaB downstream genes involved in the different steps of the metastatic cascade, such as urokinase-type plasminogen activator, vascular endothelial growth factor, and IL-8. MiaPaCa-2/IL-1alpha cells showed an enhanced cell invasion in vitro compared with parental MiaPaCa-2 cells and induced liver metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model. The metastatic phenotype induced by IL-1alpha was inhibited by the expression of phosphorylation-defective IkappaB (IkappaB S32, 36A), which blocked NF-kappaB activation. Consistently, silencing the expression of IL-1alpha by short hairpin RNA in the highly metastatic L3.6pl pancreatic cancer cells completely suppressed their metastatic spread. In summary, these findings showed that IL-1alpha plays key roles in pancreatic cancer metastatic behavior through the constitutive activation of NF-kappaB. Our findings further support the possible link between inflammation and cancer and suggest that IL-1alpha may be a potential therapeutic target for treating pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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