Chemokines influence tumor progression through regulation of leukocyte chemotaxis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. In this study, the regulated expression of angiogenic (stromal cell-derived factor [SDF]-1/CXCL12 and interleukin [IL]-8/CXCL8) and angiostatic (platelet factor [PF]-4var/CXCL4L1 and inducible protein [IP-10]/CXCL10) chemokines was examined in human colorectal and esophageal cancer. In HCT 116 and HCT-8 colorectal adenocarcinoma cells, the production of IL-8 immunoreactivity was up-regulated by IL-1beta, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, the toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands double-stranded RNA and peptidoglycan and phorbol ester. Increased PF-4 and synergistic IL-8 and IP-10 induction in carcinoma cells after stimulation with IL-1beta plus TNF-alpha or interferon-gamma was demonstrated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or immunocytochemistry. In addition, IL-8 from HT-29 colorectal adenocarcinoma cells was molecularly identified as intact chemokine, as well as NH(2)-terminally truncated, more active IL-8(6-77). The presence of PF-4var, SDF-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was evidenced by immunohistochemistry in surgical samples from 51 patients operated on for colon adenocarcinoma (AC), esophageal AC, or esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). PF-4var was strongly detected in colorectal cancer, whereas its expression in esophageal cancer was rather weak. Staining for SDF-1 was almost negative in esophageal SCC, whereas a more intense and frequent staining was observed in AC of the esophagus and colon. Staining for VEGF was moderately to strongly positive in all 3 types of cancer, although less prominent in esophageal AC. The heterogenous expression of angiogenic (IL-8, SDF-1) as well as angiostatic (IP-10, PF-4var) chemokines not only within the tumor and between the different cases but also between the different tumor cell types may indicate a distinct role of the various chemokines in the complex process of tumor development.
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