Background: Interleukin 8 (IL-8) is an important cytokine involved in tumor growth and angiogenesis in a variety of malignancies. We hypothesize that IL-8 plays an important role in the cellular proliferation and angiogenesis seen in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and set out to identify its receptors, IL-8RA and IL-8RB.
Methods: Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on specimens from 38 HNSCC patients with stage I to IV disease and control tissues.
Results: All of cancer specimens demonstrated positive staining for IL-8RA. The IL-8RA staining of microvessel endothelial cells was seen in 51%. The IL-8RB pattern was similar to the IL-8RA pattern in that 97% of cancer sections demonstrated positive cancer cell staining, and 74% of the specimens demonstrated positive staining for microvessel endothelial cells.
Conclusion: Our studies demonstrate that IL-8 receptors are expressed by cancer cells and microvessel endothelial cells in HNSCC, suggesting that IL-8 may act in an autocrine/paracrine fashion to stimulate cellular proliferation and angiogenesis.