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Baker KJ;Buskiewicz E;Finucane M;Chelliah A;Burke L;Houston A;Brint E;
IL-36 expression is increased in NSCLC with IL-36 stimulation of lung cancer cells promoting a pro-tumorigenic phenotype.
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The IL-36 cytokines are a recently described subset of the IL-1 family of cytokines, and have been shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD. Given the common aetiological links between COPD and lung cancer development, as well as the involvement of other IL-1 family members in lung tumorigenesis, the aim of this work was to investigate the role of IL-36 cytokines in the pathogenesis of lung cancer. In this study we demonstrate that expression of IL-36 cytokines and receptor mRNA and protein are significantly increased in lung cancer tissue compared to adjacent non-tumour tissue. In vitro assays showed that stimulation of two lung cancer cell lines, SKMES-1 human squamous cell and LLC murine lung cancer, with IL-36R agonists resulted in increased cellular migration and proliferation. All IL-36 cytokines induced the expression of pro-inflammatory chemokines in both lung cancer cell lines with synergistic effects identified upon co-stimulation of cells with IL-17, IL-22 and TNFa. Furthermore, we report that IL-36 cytokines induce protein expression of the immune checkpoint inhibitor protein PD-L1 on lung cancer cells. Taken together, this data indicates that targeting IL-36R signalling may be a useful targeted therapy for lung cancer patients with IL-36R+ cancer cells.
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