IL-24 inhibits lung cancer cell migration and invasion by disrupting the SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling axis

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):e0122439. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122439. eCollection 2015.


Background: The stromal cell derived factor (SDF)-1/chemokine receptor (CXCR)-4 signaling pathway plays a key role in lung cancer metastasis and is molecular target for therapy. In the present study we investigated whether interleukin (IL)-24 can inhibit the SDF-1/CXCR4 axis and suppress lung cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro. Further, the efficacy of IL-24 in combination with CXCR4 antagonists was investigated.

Methods: Human H1299, A549, H460 and HCC827 lung cancer cell lines were used in the present study. The H1299 lung cancer cell line was stably transfected with doxycycline-inducible plasmid expression vector carrying the human IL-24 cDNA and used in the present study to determine the inhibitory effects of IL-24 on SDF-1/CXCR4 axis. H1299 and A549 cell lines were used in transient transfection studies. The inhibitory effects of IL-24 on SDF1/CXCR4 and its downstream targets were analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR, western blot, luciferase reporter assay, flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry. Functional studies included cell migration and invasion assays.

Principal findings: Endogenous CXCR4 protein expression levels varied among the four human lung cancer cell lines. Doxycycline-induced IL-24 expression in the H1299-IL24 cell line resulted in reduced CXCR4 mRNA and protein expression. IL-24 post-transcriptionally regulated CXCR4 mRNA expression by decreasing the half-life of CXCR4 mRNA (>40%). Functional studies showed IL-24 inhibited tumor cell migration and invasion concomitant with reduction in CXCR4 and its downstream targets (pAKTS473, pmTORS2448, pPRAS40T246 and HIF-1α). Additionally, IL-24 inhibited tumor cell migration both in the presence and absence of the CXCR4 agonist, SDF-1. Finally, IL-24 when combined with CXCR4 inhibitors (AMD3100, SJA5) or with CXCR4 siRNA demonstrated enhanced inhibitory activity on tumor cell migration.

Conclusions: IL-24 disrupts the SDF-1/CXCR4 signaling pathway and inhibits lung tumor cell migration and invasion. Additionally, IL-24, when combined with CXCR4 inhibitors exhibited enhanced anti-metastatic activity and is an attractive therapeutic strategy for lung metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / metabolism*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Interleukins / pharmacology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • interleukin-24
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • plerixafor