The role of interleukin-10 (IL-10) in chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia: IL-10 prevents leukemic cells from apoptotic cell death

Int J Hematol. 1995 Aug;62(2):99-106. doi: 10.1016/0925-5710(95)00395-9.


We examined the possible role of interleukin 10 (IL-10) in the pathogenesis of human chronic B-lymphocytic leukemias (B-CLL). With the use of an in vitro culture technique, we found that IL-10 enhanced the survival of B-CLL cells in a dose-dependent fashion by inhibiting the process of apoptotic cell death. This was demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy and DNA gel electrophoresis. Flow cytometric and immunoblot analyses showed that IL-10 did not significantly upregulate bcl-2 expression as compared with control cultures. B-CLL cells were also found to spontaneously release IL-10 in cultures, and serum IL-10 levels were elevated in five of the eleven B-CLL patients. These findings suggest that IL-10 acts as an autocrine growth factor for B-CLL cells and cytokine-based therapy might be a new approach for the treatment of B-CLL.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / biosynthesis
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology*
  • Leukemia, Hairy Cell / pathology
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interleukin-10