Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 337–345 | Cite as

DNA methylation at promoter regions of interleukin 1B, interleukin 6, and interleukin 8 in non-small cell lung cancer

  • Xavier Tekpli
  • Nina E. Landvik
  • Kristine H. Anmarkud
  • Vidar Skaug
  • Aage Haugen
  • Shanbeh ZienolddinyEmail author
Original article


Epidemiologic and experimental evidences support the concept that inflammation promotes the development and progression of cancers. Interleukins (ILs) regulate the expression of several molecules and signaling pathways involved in inflammation. High expression of some ILs in the tumor microenvironment has been associated with a more virulent tumor phenotype. To examine the role of IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 in non-small cell lung cancer, we measured mRNA levels and promoter DNA methylation in a panel of cultured human lung cells (n = 23) and in matched pair lung tumor versus adjacent non-tumorous tissues (n = 24). We found that lung cancer cells or tissues had significantly different DNA methylation and mRNA levels than normal human bronchial epithelial cells or adjacent non-tumorous tissues, respectively. High DNA methylation of ILs promoters in lung cancer cells or tissues was associated with low mRNA levels. We found an inverse correlation between DNA methylation of IL1B, IL6, and IL8 gene promoters and their corresponding mRNA levels, such inverse correlation was more significant for IL1B (i.e., all cancer cell lines used in this study had a hypermethylated IL1B promoter which was associated with silencing of the gene). Our results underline for the first time the role of epigenetic modifications in the regulation of the expression of key cytokines involved in the inflammatory response during lung cancer development.


Interleukins DNA methylation Inflammation Lung carcinogenesis Epigenetic 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr Lodve Stangeland, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen for recruiting the lung cancer patients. Dr Steen Mollerup is acknowledged for providing primary human lung epithelial cells. We are grateful to Mrs Tove Andreassen and Mrs Elin Einarsdottir Thorner for excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by the Norwegian Cancer Society.

Conflict of interest

None declared.

Supplementary material

262_2012_1340_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (387 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 386 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Tekpli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nina E. Landvik
    • 1
  • Kristine H. Anmarkud
    • 1
  • Vidar Skaug
    • 1
  • Aage Haugen
    • 1
  • Shanbeh Zienolddiny
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Section for Toxicology, Department of Biological and Chemical Working EnvironmentNational Institute of Occupational HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Stem Cell GroupCenter for Molecular MedicineOsloNorway

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