The potential role of neutrophils in promoting the metastatic phenotype of tumors releasing interleukin-8

Joseph E. De Larco, Beverly R.K. Wuertz, Leo T. Furcht

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

349 Scopus citations


In the last decade, several groups have shown a direct correlation between the inappropriate or ectopic release of interleukin (IL)-8 by tumor cells in vitro and their growth and metastatic potential using in vivo models of tumor growth. IL-8 is a potent neutrophil chemoattractant. Neutrophils, as "early responders" to wounds and infections, release enzymes to remodel the extracellular matrix of the tissues through which they migrate to reach the site of the wound or infection. It is proposed that the host's cellular response to IL-8 released by tumor cells enhances angiogenesis and contributes to tumor growth and progression. The activities released by the responding neutrophils could serve as enablers of tumor cell migration through the extracellular matrix, helping them enter the vasculature and journey to new, metastatic sites. The reactive oxygen species produced by neutrophilic oxidases to kill invading organisms have the potential to interact with tumor cells to attenuate their apoptotic cascade and increase their mutational rate. It is proposed that the increase in metastatic potential of tumors ectopically releasing IL-8 is, in part, attributable to their ability to attract neutrophils. Discussed here are possible mechanisms by which the neutrophils responding to ectopic IL-8 contribute to the in vivo growth, progression, and metastatic potential of tumor cells. Possible targets are also presented for the development of therapies to attenuate the effects of the ectopic IL-8 release by tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4895-4900
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


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