Role of mononuclear cells and inflammatory cytokines in pancreatic cancer-related cachexia

Marc E. Martignoni, Phillipp Kunze, Wulf Hildebrandt, Beat Künzli, Pascal Berberat, Thomas Giese, Oliver Klöters, Jürgen Hammer, Markus W. Büchler, Nathalia A. Giese, Helmut Friess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: The mechanism behind aggressive development of cachexia in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer is not well understood. In this study, we investigated which factors are associated with the cachectic status of the patients and evaluated cachexia-promoting capacity of cancer and inflammatory cells. Experimental Design: DNA microarray analysis and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR were used to screen for cachexia-associated factors in pancreatic specimens obtained from non-cachectic and cachetic patients diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The expression pattern of the most prominently altered cachexia-associated factor, interleukin-6 (IL-6), was further analyzed in patients sera by ELISA, in pancreatic specimens by immunohistochemistry, and in a coculture system by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR using pancreatic cancer cell lines T3M4 (IL-6 positive) and Panc-1 (IL-6 negative) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from donors and noncachectic and cachectic patients. Results: Among numerous analyzed factors, IL-6 was significantly overexpressed in pancreatic specimens and elevated in serum of cachectic patients. The coculture system revealed that pancreatic cancerT3M4 cells but not Panc-1 cells were able to stimulate IL-6 exclusively in cachectic PBMC (by 14-fold) and this triggering was reduced by half in the presence of IL-6-neutralizing antibodies. Conclusion: IL-6 represents a prominent cachexia-associated factor in pancreatic cancer. IL-6 overexpression in cachectic patients is related to the ability of certain tumors to sensitize PBMC and induce cytokine expression in cachectic PBMC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5802-5808
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


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