Interleukin-4 Stimulates the Spread and Growth of Prostate Cancer Cells, Researchers Find

Interleukin-4 Stimulates the Spread and Growth of Prostate Cancer Cells, Researchers Find
A bone marrow protein that normally works to reduce inflammation after infection was found to also send signals to prostate cancer cells to promote their spread and growth outside of the prostate, a new study shows. The findings could provide the missing link as to why prostate cancer cells migrate to bones and may lead to new therapies that stop the process. The study, "The immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-4 increases the clonogenic potential of prostate stem-like cells by activation of STAT6 signalling," was published in the journal Oncogenesis. Inflammation is linked to poor prognosis in cancer. Cytokines, which are proteins secreted by cells as part of the normal immune response, are associated with the inflammatory process. For example, the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) influences the growth and survival of prostate cancer cells. Patients with progressive prostate cancer have elevated levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-4 (IL-4), and previous studies have shown that IL-4 can promote the growth and proliferation of certain cancer cells in vitro. This prompted the researchers to investigate the effect of IL-4 on prostate cancer cells isolated from patients. After six days of growth in the presence of IL-4, the team found that the ability of malignant prostate cancer cells to form colonies, which is a measure of cell survival and proliferation, was enhanced in a concentration-dependent manner. But the cytokine did not influence the migration or inv
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