Human pancreatic carcinoma cells secrete bioactive interleukin-18 after treatment with 5-fluorouracil: Implications for anti-tumor immune response
Volume 4, Issue 2
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Pages 239 - 249http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/cbt.4.2.1476
Authors: Anna Carbone, Ulrich Rodeck, Francesco Angelo Mauri, Michela Sozzi, Fabio Gaspari, Carlo Smirne, Adriana Prati, Alfredo Addeo, Anna Novarino, Antonio Robecchi, Oscar Bertetto, Giorgio Emanuelli and Graziella Bellone View affiliations
Recently we observed that pancreatic carcinoma cell lines constitutively express Interleukin-18 (IL-18). Bioactive IL-18 induces Interferon (IFN)-g production, Fas Ligand (FasL) expression, and inhibits angiogenesis, raising the issue of anti-tumor effects of a tumor-derived cytokine and motivating a more detailed analysis of IL-18 production in pancreatic carcinoma cells. This analysis included the study of effects of chemotherapeutic drugs (5-fluorouracil [5-FU], gemcitabine, cisplatin) commonly used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients on IL-18 production and processing. IL-18 expression and posttranslational processing were determined using RT-PCR, immunoblot and ELISA in pancreatic carcinoma cell lines and in tumor tissue and serum samples from pancreatic carcinoma patients in the presence and absence of chemotherapeutic drugs. We describe expression of IL-18 in pancreatic carcinoma cells and tissues associated with significantly elevated IL-18 levels in patients sera. Specifically, Capan-2 pancreatic tumor cells produced and secreted precursor IL-18 with no apparent biological activity. However, the chemotherapeutic agent 5-FU, by inducing Caspase-1 and Caspase-3 activation, induced secretion of proteolytically processed mature and degraded IL-18 species, respectively, in Capan-2 cells. Conditioned medium from 5-FU-treated but not control Capan-2 cells induced IFN-g production by activated T cells in an IL-18-dependent manner. Furthermore, adjuvant polychemotherapy including 5-FU significantly increased serum levels of mature, bioactive IL-18 in pancreatic carcinoma patients. Treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with 5-FU induced Caspase-dependent processing of pro-IL18 leading to the secretion of biologically active IL-18. These findings delineate a novel mechanism by which chemotherapeutic agents may modulate local anti-tumor cell-mediated immune responses.