The inflammatory chemokines CCL2 and CCL5 in breast cancer

Cancer Lett. 2008 Aug 28;267(2):271-85. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.03.018. Epub 2008 Apr 24.


A causal role was recently attributed to inflammation in many malignant diseases, including breast cancer. The different inflammatory mediators that are involved in this disease include cells, cytokines and chemokines. Of these, many studies have addressed the involvement and roles of the inflammatory chemokines CCL2 (MCP-1) and CCL5 (RANTES) in breast malignancy. While minimally expressed by normal breast epithelial duct cells, both chemokines are highly expressed by breast tumor cells at primary tumor sites, indicating that CCL2 and CCL5 expression is acquired in the course of malignant transformation, and suggesting that the two chemokines play a role in breast cancer development and/or progression. Supporting this possibility are findings showing significant associations between CCL2 and CCL5 and more advanced disease course and progression. Furthermore, studies in animal model systems have shown active and causative roles for the two chemokines in this disease. In line with the tumor-promoting roles of CCL2 and CCL5 in breast cancer, the two chemokines were shown to mediate many types of tumor-promoting cross-talks between the tumor cells and cells of the tumor microenvironment: (1) they shift the balance at the tumor site between different leukocyte cell types by increasing the presence of deleterious tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) and inhibiting potential anti-tumor T cell activities; (2) of the two chemokines, mainly CCL2 promotes angiogenesis; (3) CCL2 and CCL5 which are expressed by cells of the tumor microenvironment osteoblasts and mesenchymal stem cells play a role in breast metastatic processes. In addition, both chemokines act directly on the tumor cells to promote their pro-malignancy phenotype, by increasing their migratory and invasion-related properties. Together, the overall current information suggests that CCL2 and CCL5 are inflammatory mediators with pro-malignancy activities in breast cancer, and that they should be considered as potential therapeutic targets for the limitation of this disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Chemokine CCL2 / genetics
  • Chemokine CCL2 / physiology*
  • Chemokine CCL5 / genetics
  • Chemokine CCL5 / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / metabolism


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Chemokine CCL5