Increased IL-6 and IL-8 levels in cervicovaginal secretions of patients with cervical cancer

Ming Y. Tjiong*, Nine Van Der Vange, Fiebo J.W. Ten Kate, Steven P. Tjong-A-Hung, Jan Ter Schegget, Matthé P.M. Burger, Theo A. Out

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective. Conflicting data exist on IL-6 production by human papillomavirus (HPV) immortalized cell lines and several cervical carcinoma cell lines. However, no information has been reported on the levels of cytokines in cervicovaginal washings in relation to cervical neoplasia. The aim of this study was to investigate whether local production of IL-6 could be found and whether the level of this cytokine was related to the severity of cervical neoplasia. IL-8 was measured to obtain additional information on an inflammatory cytokine with possible epithelial origin. Methods. Cervicovaginal washings and sera were obtained from 35 patients with invasive cervical cancer, 62 patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and 25 control subjects. IL-6 and IL-8 levels were determined by ELISA. HPV DNA in cervical smears was detected by a HPV-16-specific PCR method and additionally by CPI/IIG PCR. Histological analysis of the inflammatory infiltrate was performed on hematoxylin-eosin-stained tissue sections. Results. In the patients with cervical cancer, those with CIN, and the controls, the median IL-6 concentration in cervicovaginal washings was 171 pg/ml (interquartile range: 54-780), 22 pg/ml (<2-73), and < 2 pg/ml (<2- <2), respectively. For IL-8, the levels were 2756 pg/ml (1651-7107), 489 pg/ml (248-1158), and 631 pg/ml (346-897), respectively. In most subjects the local levels were much higher than in serum. Local IL-6 and IL-8 levels were significantly higher in patients with cervical carcinoma compared with CIN patients and controls. Likewise, local IL-6 levels were increased in patients with CIN compared with controls. No relation was found between cytokine levels and CIN grade or between cytokine levels and the inflammatory infiltrate scored by histological analysis. Conclusions. There is local production of IL-6 and IL-8 in cervicovaginal secretions, and the production of IL-6 was related to the severity of cervical neoplasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-291
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1999

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