Targeting IL-8 signalling to inhibit breast cancer stem cell activity

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2013 Nov;17(11):1235-41. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2013.835398. Epub 2013 Sep 14.


Although survival from breast cancer has improved significantly over the past 20 years, disease recurrence remains a significant clinical problem. The concept of stem-like cells in cancer has been gaining currency over the last decade or so, since evidence for stem cell activity in human leukaemia and solid tumours, including breast cancer, was first published. Evidence indicates that this sub-population of cells, known as cancer stem-like cells (CSCs), is responsible for driving tumour formation and disease progression. In breast cancer, there is good evidence that CSCs are intrinsically resistant to conventional chemo-, radio- and endocrine therapies. By evading the effects of these treatments, CSCs are held culpable for disease recurrence. Hence, in order to improve treatment there is a need to develop CSC-targeted therapies. Interleukin-8 (IL-8), an inflammatory cytokine, is upregulated in breast cancer and associated with poor prognostic factors. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that IL-8, through its receptors CXCR1/2, is an important regulator of breast CSC activity. Inhibiting CXCR1/2 signalling has proved efficacious in pre-clinical models of breast cancer providing a good rationale for targeting CXCR1/2 clinically. Here, we discuss the role of IL-8 in breast CSC regulation and development of novel therapies to target CXCR1/2 signalling in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Interleukin-8
  • Receptors, Chemokine