Oral and oro-pharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) exhibit surface breach, and recent studies have demonstrated bacterial contamination of primary and metastatic OSCC. Increasing concentrations of inflammatory products, such as interleukin (IL)-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), correlate with, and contribute to, cancer progression, but their regulation in OSCC is poorly understood. We hypothesized that monocyte- lineage cells and bacterial contamination may contribute important inflammatory products that can support OSCC progression. We found that relative to nonspecific chronic mucositis, oral carcinoma-in-situ/superficially- invasive OSCC contained more monocyte-lineage cells. In vitro, we used lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to model bacterial contamination, and evaluated the effects of oral and oropharyngeal (O)SCC-monocyte interactions and of LPS on OSCC cells and on the production of IL-6 and VEGF. OSCC cell lines varied in constitutive cytokine and chemokine production, and OSCC-monocyte interactions in the absence of LPS stimulated IL-6 and VEGF occasionally, while LPS-OSCC-monocyte interactions were always strongly stimulatory. Importantly, LPS independently stimulated some OSCC lines to secrete monocyte-dendritic cell chemoattractants CCL2 and/or CCL20, as well as IL-6 and/or VEGF. While very little constitutive Y705-STAT3 phosphorylation (pY705-STAT3) was detectable in HNSCC lines, IL-6 rapidly induced pY705-STAT3 in OSCC lines that produced little IL-6 constitutively. Supernatants from LPS-OSCC-monocyte co-cultures always rapidly and strongly activated STAT3, which was partly due to IL-6. We conclude that monocytes and microbial contamination have the potential to contribute to OSCC progression, as STAT3 activation in OSCC cells depends on soluble factors, which are consistently available through LPS-OSCC-monocyte interactions.
- Oral squamous cell carcinoma
- Toll-like receptor
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine