Multifaceted Roles of Interleukin-6 in Adipocyte–Breast Cancer Cell Interaction

Jones Gyamfi, Minseob Eom, Ja Seung Koo, Junjeong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women worldwide, with a developmental process spanning decades. The malignant cells recruit a variety of cells including fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells, and adipocytes, creating the tumor microenvironment. The tumor microenvironment has emerged as active participants in breast cancer progression and response to treatment through autocrine and paracrine interaction with the malignant cells. Adipose tissue is abundant in the breast cancer microenvironment; interactions with cancer cells create cancer-associated adipocytes which produce a variety of adipokines that influence breast cancer initiation, metastasis, angiogenesis, and cachexia. Interleukin (IL)-6 has emerged as key compound significantly produced by breast cancer cells and adipocytes, with the potential of inducing proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal phenotype, stem cell phenotype, angiogenesis, cachexia, and therapeutic resistance in breast cancer cells. Our aim is to present a brief knowledge of IL-6’s role in breast cancer. This review summarizes our current understanding of the breast microenvironment, with emphasis on adipocytes as key players in breast cancer tumorigenesis. The effects of key adipocytes such as leptin, adipokines, TGF-b, and IL-6 are discussed. Finally, we discuss the role of IL-6 in various aspects of cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( NRF-2017R1D1A1B03033362 and NRF 2014R1A1A1002443 ); by the Brain Research Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning ( 2016M3C7A1913844 ) and by the Faculty research grant of Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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