Background and aim: Cholangiocarcinoma has an unimproved prognosis. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) has an oncogenic potential in some cancer diseases. However, the role of IL-6 in cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis is not well understood. The current study investigated the role of IL-6 signaling in cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis and efficacy of siltuximab treatment on cholangiocarcinoma in vitro and in vivo.
Methods: The expression of IL-6 was analyzed on human cholangiocarcinoma cell lines and murine and human cholangiocarcinoma tissues, using reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. In addition, the effect of anti-IL-6 chimeric monoclonal antibody, siltuximab, was investigated in vitro by proliferation, migration, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional invasion assays and in vivo by xenograft mouse model. Western blot was applied to study the molecular alteration.
Results: Our result shows high expression of IL-6 in human cholangiocarcinoma cells, and IL-6 stimulants enhance cholangiocarcinoma cell proliferation. In addition, murine and human cholangiocarcinoma tissues express significantly higher levels of IL-6, compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues. On the cholangiocarcinoma engineered mouse model, IL-6 level is associated with tumor volume. Taken together, our data indicate an oncogenic potential of IL-6 in cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis. Siltuximab sufficiently abrogates IL-6 signaling and inhibits cholangiocarcinoma progression in vitro and in vivo. The results additionally indicate a relative alteration of IL-6 signaling and its molecular targets, such as STAT3, Wnt/β-catenin, and mesenchymal markers.
Conclusions: Interleukin 6 plays an essential role in cholangiocarcinoma carcinogenesis, and siltuximab has the potential to be considered as a new treatment option for cholangiocarcinoma patients.
Keywords: Cholangiocarcinoma; IL-6; Siltuximab.
© 2020 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.