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Interleukin-37 mediates the antitumor activity in colon cancer through β-catenin suppression

Xiaofei Yan, Jian Zhao and Rui Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:49064-49075. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17093

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Xiaofei Yan1, Jian Zhao1 and Rui Zhang1

1Department of Colorectal Surgery, Liaoning Cancer Hospital & Institute, Cancer Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110042, Liaoning Province, P.R. China

Correspondence to:

Rui Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: interleukin-37, colon cancer, β-catenin, IL-37

Received: February 25, 2017     Accepted: April 03, 2017     Published: April 13, 2017


The occurrence and development of colon cancer is closely related to inflammation. Thus, we conducted the present retrospective study to investigate the effects of IL-37 (Interleukin 37), a newly identified anti-inflammatory factor, on colon cancer development. We first evaluated the IL-37 expression in 186 pairs of colon cancer samples and their adjacent normal mucosa by real-time PCR, ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunoassay) and tissue microarrays. Then the role of IL-37 on patient survival rates, colon cancer progression and their sensitivity to chemotherapy drugs were assessed. IL-37 was barely expressed in the colon cancer tissue but highly expressed in the adjacent normal tissue. The down-regulation of IL-37 was significantly correlated with the results of American Joint Committee on Cancer stage, nodal involvement, invasion depth, distant metastasis, differentiation and it was also shown to be an independent prognostic indicator of disease-free survival and overall survival for patients with colon cancer. Overexpression of IL-37 in colon cancer cell suppressed cell migration, invasion, proliferation, colony formation and cancer stem cells through suppressing β-catenin. IL-37 inhibited colon tumor formation in the mice model and sensitize the cancer cell to chemotherapy drugs. Our results showed that IL-37 plays an inhibitory role in colon cancer development and function as a novel prognostic indicator and a potential therapeutic target.

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