The interleukin-6 family cytokine interleukin-11 regulates homeostatic epithelial cell turnover and promotes gastric tumor development

Meegan Howlett, Andrew S. Giraud, Helen Lescesen, Cameron B. Jackson, Anastasia Kalantzis, Ian R. Van Driel, Lorraine Robb, Mark Van der Hoek, Matthias Ernst, Toshinari Minamoto, Alex Boussioutas, Hiroko Oshima, Masanobu Oshima, Louise M. Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, mainly as a result of late-stage detection. Interleukin (IL)-11 is a multifunctional cytokine reported to be up-regulated in human gastric cancer.

METHODS: We investigated the importance of IL-11 in gastric cancer progression by examining its role in a variety of mouse gastric tumor models, as well as in nonneoplastic and tumor tissues taken from gastric cancer patients. We then determined the transcriptional and translational outcomes of IL-11 overexpression in normal gastric mucosa and identified a novel gene signature important early in the progression toward gastric tumorigenesis.

RESULTS: IL-11 was up-regulated significantly in 4 diverse mouse models of gastric pathology as well as in human biopsy specimens adjacent to and within gastric cancer. Removal of IL-11 co-receptor alpha significantly reduced HKbeta-/- mouse fundic hyperplasia and ablated gp130(757F/F) mouse tumorigenesis. Exogenous IL-11 but not IL-6 activated oncogenic signal transducer and activator of transcription-3, and altered expression of novel proliferative and cytoprotective genes RegIII-beta, RegIII-gamma, gremlin-1, clusterin, and growth arrest specific-1 in wild-type gastric mucosa, a gene signature common in gp130(757F/F) and HKbeta-/- tumors as well as nonneoplastic mucosa of gastric cancer patients. One week of chronic IL-11 administration in wild-type mice sustained the gene signature, causing pretumorigenic changes in both antrum and fundus.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased gastric IL-11 alters expression of proliferative and cytoprotective genes and promotes pretumorigenic cellular changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-77
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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