Potential influence of interleukin-6 on the therapeutic effect of gefitinib in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer harbouring EGFR mutations

Tomoki Tamura, Yuka Kato, Kadoaki Ohashi, Kiichiro Ninomiya, Go Makimoto, Hiroko Gotoda, Toshio Kubo, Eiki Ichihara, Takehiro Tanaka, Koichi Ichimura, Yoshinobu Maeda, Katsuyuki Hotta, Katsuyuki Kiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) are a key therapy used for patients with EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), some of whom do not respond well to its therapy. Cytokine including IL-6 secreted by tumour cells is postulated as a potential mechanism for the primary resistance or low sensitivity to EGFR-TKIs. Fifty-two patients with advanced EGFR-mutant NSCLC who had received gefitinib were assessed retrospectively. The protein expression of IL-6 in the tumour cells was assessed by immunostaining and judged as positive if ≥ 50 of 100 tumour cells stained positively. Of the 52 patients, 24 (46%) and 28 (54%) were defined as IL-6-postitive (group P) and IL-6-negative (group N), respectively. Group P had worse progression-free survival (PFS) than that of group N, which was retained in the multivariate analysis (hazard ratio: 2.39; 95 %CI: 1.00–5.68; p < 0.05). By contrast, the PFS after platinum-based chemotherapy did not differ between groups P and N (p = 0.47). In cell line-based model, the impact of IL-6 on the effect of EGFR-TKIs was assessed. The combination of EGFR-TKI and anti-IL-6 antibody moderately improved the sensitivity of EGFR-TKI in lung cancer cell with EGFR mutation. Interestingly, suppression of EGFR with EGFR-TKI accelerated the activation of STAT3 induced by IL-6. Taken together, tumour IL-6 levels might indicate a subpopulation of EGFR-mutant NSCLC that benefits less from gefitinib monotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-367
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Volume495
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • EGFR-TKI
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lung cancer
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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