Interaction between lung cancer cells and astrocytes via specific inflammatory cytokines in the microenvironment of brain metastasis

Toshihiro Seike, Kyota Fujita, Yukiko Yamakawa, Mizuho A. Kido, Soichi Takiguchi, Norihiro Teramoto, Haruo Iguchi, Mami Noda

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129 Citations (Scopus)


The incidence of brain metastasis is increasing, however, little is known about molecular mechanism responsible for lung cancer-derived brain metastasis and their development in the brain. In the present study, brain pathology was examined in an experimental model system of brain metastasis as well as in human brain with lung cancer metastasis. In an experimental model, after 3-6 weeks of intracardiac inoculation of human lung cancer-derived (HARA-B) cells in nude mice, wide range of brain metastases were observed. The brain sections showed significant increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive astrocytes around metastatic lesions. To elucidate the role of astrocytes in lung cancer proliferation, the interaction between primary cultured mouse astrocytes and HARA-B cells was analyzed in vitro. Co-cultures and insert-cultures demonstrated that astrocytes were activated by tumor cell-oriented factors; macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Activated astrocytes produced interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 β (IL-1β), which in turn promoted tumor cell proliferation. Semi-quantitative immunocytochemistry showed that increased expression of receptors for IL-6 and its subunits gp130 on HARA-B cells. Receptors for TNF-α and IL-1β were also detected on HARA-B cells but down-regulated after co-culture with astrocytes. Insert-culture with astrocytes also stimulated the proliferation of other lung cancer-derived cell lines (PC-9, QG56, and EBC-1). These results suggest that tumor cells and astrocytes stimulate each other and these mutual relationships may be important to understand how lung cancer cells metastasize and develop in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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