Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) can spread easily through the lymphatic and blood vessels, thus forming new cancer in distant organs which can lead to multi-organ failure.
New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Cell Communication and Signaling demonstrates how IBC cells use IL-8, secreted as part of the anti-inflammatory response by a specific set of white blood cells (monocytes), to increase fibronectin expression.
Fibronectin is a cell-adhesion molecule which is usually involved in wound healing and cell migration during embryogenesis. Over-expression of this molecule is thought to allow cancer to metastasize. Prof Mona Mohamed from Cairo University used a cytokine antibody array to identify which immune-regulating molecules (cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors) were secreted by monocytes and found that, while monocytes secreted a small amount each of a wide range of molecules, there was up to 10 times more IL-8 and MCP-1.
The monocyte cocktail did not alter expression of another cell adhesion molecule, E-cadherin. Prof Mohamed continued, "From what we already knew about cell adhesion and these results, it seems that IBC cells are held together in clumps by E-cadherin, but fibronectin, and the IL-8 signaling pathway, are involved in branching and invasion necessary for metastasis of IBC."