Influence of IL-8 on the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and the tumor microenvironment

Future Oncol. 2012 Jun;8(6):713-22. doi: 10.2217/fon.12.59.


The phenomenon of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has gained attention in the field of cancer biology for its potential contribution to the progression of carcinomas. Tumor EMT is a phenotypic switch that promotes the acquisition of a fibroblastoid-like morphology by epithelial tumor cells, resulting in enhanced tumor cell motility and invasiveness, increased metastatic propensity and resistance to chemotherapy, radiation and certain small-molecule-targeted therapies. Tumor cells undergoing EMT are also known to increase the secretion of specific factors, including cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, which could play an important role in tumor progression. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the secretory properties of epithelial tumor cells that have undergone an EMT, with an emphasis on the potential role of the IL-8-IL-8 receptor axis on the induction and/or maintenance of tumor EMT and its ability to remodel the tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autocrine Communication
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Interleukin-8
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8