Interleukin Plays a Role in Ovarian Cancer Growth
Patients whose tumors produced high levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8) protein had a worse outcome than those with less IL-8. Blocking expression of IL-8 in mouse models of ovarian cancer slowed tumor growth by reducing blood vessel growth.
IL-8 expression is elevated in many human tumors. Previous work indicated that the protein stimulates tumor growth, blood vessel development, and metastasis in animal models. Suppressing its activity with antibody therapy slowed tumor growth in those models.
In the current study, Anil Sood, M.D., of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues tested 102 human ovarian cancer tumor samples for IL-8 expression. Of those, 43 (42 percent) had high levels of the protein and 69 (58 percent) had low or no IL-8 expression. The researchers found that the women whose tumors had higher levels of IL-8 were more likely to have advanced disease and poorer survival.
When the team used small-interfering RNAs to block IL-8 gene expression in animal models of ovarian cancer, they saw that tumor growth was substantially reduced. The slowed growth appeared to be due to less blood vessel development.
"Our findings suggest that IL-8 may be a potential therapeutic target in ovarian cancer," the authors write.