Autocrine generation and requirement of BSF-2/IL-6 for human multiple myelomas

Nature. 1988 Mar 3;332(6159):83-5. doi: 10.1038/332083a0.


Human B cell stimulatory factor 2 (BSF-2) was originally characterized and isolated as a T cell-derived factor that caused the terminal maturation of activated B cells to immunoglobulin-producing cells. Molecular cloning of the complementary DNA predicts that BSF-2 is a protein of relative molecular mass (Mr) 26,000 similar or identical to interferon beta 2, hybridoma plasmacytoma growth factor and hepatocyte stimulating factor. IL-6 has been proposed as a name for this molecule. It is now known that BSF-2 has a wide variety of biological functions and that its target cells are not restricted to normal B cells. Responses are also seen in T cells, plasmacytomas, hepatocytes, haematopoietic stem cells, fibroblasts and rat phoeochromocytoma, PC12 (Satoh, T. et al., manuscript in preparation). Of particular interest to this report is that human BSF-2 is a potent growth factor for murine plasmacytomas and hybridomas. This observation suggested to us that constitutive expression of BSF-2 or its receptor could be responsible for the generation of human myelomas. In this study we report that myeloma cells freshly isolated from patients produce BSF-2 and express its receptors. Moreover, anti-BSF-2 antibody inhibits the in vitro growth of myeloma cells. This is direct evidence that an autocrine loop is operating in oncogenesis of human myelomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / physiology
  • Cell Division
  • Growth Substances
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Interleukins / pharmacology
  • Interleukins / physiology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4
  • Receptors, Mitogen / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies
  • Growth Substances
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4
  • Receptors, Mitogen
  • Recombinant Proteins