Objective: Conflicting data exist on IL-6 production by human papillomavirus (HPV) immortalized cell lines and several cervical carcinoma cell lines. However, no information has been reported on the levels of cytokines in cervicovaginal washings in relation to cervical neoplasia. The aim of this study was to investigate whether local production of IL-6 could be found and whether the level of this cytokine was related to the severity of cervical neoplasia. IL-8 was measured to obtain additional information on an inflammatory cytokine with possible epithelial origin.
Methods: Cervicovaginal washings and sera were obtained from 35 patients with invasive cervical cancer, 62 patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and 25 control subjects. IL-6 and IL-8 levels were determined by ELISA. HPV DNA in cervical smears was detected by a HPV-16-specific PCR method and additionally by CPI/IIG PCR. Histological analysis of the inflammatory infiltrate was performed on hematoxylin-eosin-stained tissue sections.
Results: In the patients with cervical cancer, those with CIN, and the controls, the median IL-6 concentration in cervicovaginal washings was 171 pg/ml (interquartile range: 54-780), 22 pg/ml (<2-73), and < 2 pg/ml (<2-<2), respectively. For IL-8, the levels were 2756 pg/ml (1651-7107), 489 pg/ml (248-1158), and 631 pg/ml (346-897), respectively. In most subjects the local levels were much higher than in serum. Local IL-6 and IL-8 levels were significantly higher in patients with cervical carcinoma compared with CIN patients and controls. Likewise, local IL-6 levels were increased in patients with CIN compared with controls. No relation was found between cytokine levels and CIN grade or between cytokine levels and the inflammatory infiltrate scored by histological analysis.
Conclusions: There is local production of IL-6 and IL-8 in cervicovaginal secretions, and the production of IL-6 was related to the severity of cervical neoplasia.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.