Objective: We investigated whether monocyte-derived factors could stimulate the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
Study design: Human peripheral blood monocytes or human monocyte-like cell lines THP-1 and U-937 were cultured with or without macrophage colony-stimulating factor, lipopolysaccharide, or phorbol myristate acetate. Culture supernatants or recombinant cytokines were assayed for growth stimulation of ovarian cancer cell lines by tritium-thymidine incorporation and direct cell counts followed by statistical analysis with Student t test.
Results: Conditioned medium from peripheral blood monocytes or from THP-1 or U-937 cells stimulated ovarian cancer cell growth. Interleukin-1 alpha, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin-6 also stimulated ovarian cancer cell growth, whereas macrophage, granulocyte, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor did not. Concentrations of tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6 in conditioned medium could not account for all the growth stimulation, and activity remained after neutralization of tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and interleukin-6 with antibodies.
Conclusions: Interleukin-1, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor, and additional monocyte factor(s) could provide paracrine growth stimulation when monocytes are attracted to ovarian cancers that produce macrophage colony-stimulating factor.