IL-8 expression and its possible relationship with estrogen-receptor-negative status of breast cancer cells

Oncogene. 2003 Jan 16;22(2):256-65. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206113.


Estrogen-receptor (ER) status is an important parameter in breast cancer management as ER-positive breast cancers have a better prognosis than ER-negative tumors. This difference comes essentially from the lower aggressiveness and invasiveness of ER-positive tumors. Here, we demonstrate, that interleukin-8 (IL-8) was clearly overexpressed in most ER-negative breast, ovary cell lines and breast tumor samples tested, whereas no significant IL-8 level could be detected in ER-positive breast or ovarian cell lines. We have also cloned human IL-8 from ER-negative MDA-MB-231 cells, and we show that IL-8 produced by breast cancer cells is identical to monocyte-derived IL-8. Interestingly, the invasion potential of ER-negative breast cancer cells is associated at least in part with expression of IL-8, but not with IL-8 receptor levels. Moreover, IL-8 increases the invasiveness of ER-positive breast cancer cells by two fold, thus confirming the invasion-promoting role of IL-8. On the other hand, exogenous expression of estrogen receptors in ER-negative cells led to a decrease of IL-8 levels. In summary, our data show that IL-8 expression is negatively linked to ER status of breast and ovarian cancer cells. We also support the idea that IL-8 expression is associated with a higher invasiveness potential of cancer cells in vitro, which suggests that IL-8 could be a novel marker of tumor aggressiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-18 / genetics
  • Interleukin-18 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-18 / pharmacology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Interleukin-18
  • Receptors, Estrogen