Role of cytokines in cancer cachexia in a murine model of intracerebral injection of human tumours

Donatella R M Negri, Delia Mezzanzanica, Silvano Sacco, Massimo Gadina, Fabio Benigni, Laura Cajola, Gaetano Finocchiaro, Pietro Ghezzi, Silvana Canevari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To study the role of cytokines that are relevant in cancer cachexia syndrome due to intracerebral tumours, mice were injected with human A431 epidermoid carcinoma, OVCAR3 ovarian carcinoma and GBLF glioma cells comparing intracerebral (i.c.) and systemic (i.p. or s.c.) routes of implantation. Anorexia and weight loss developed within 7-10 days in mice injected i.c. with A431 or OVCAR3 cells well before a large tumour developed, while i.c.-injected GBLF cells did not induce cachexia until day 20, when the tumour was large. By contrast, mice injected i.p. or s.c. developed tumours without evidence of anorexia. Thus, intracerebrally-growing A431 and OVCAR3 resulted in cancer cachexia independent of tumour mass, and we investigated their cytokine pattern. Serum levels of murine and human cytokines are not predictive of cancer cachexia development. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis revealed in the brain of i.c.-injected A431 tumour-bearing mice expression of human interleukin-(IL-)1α, IL-1β and LIF in all samples and IL-6 in two of four samples while in i.c.-injected OVCAR3 tumour-bearing animals IL-6, and LIF were detected in all samples and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFα) in two of four samples. Only LIF was expressed in brains of mice injected with GBLF cells. Murine IL-6 was increased only in the brains of A431-bearing mice. Only mice injected i.c. simultaneously with a monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the murine IL-6 receptor and OVCAR3 cells, but not those with mAb and A431 cells, showed a significant increase in survival time with a partial and temporary attenuation of cachexia symptoms. These results suggest that IL-6 in OVCAR3 model may be important cachectogenic factor when centrally released by even a limited number of tumour cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 7 2001


  • Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome
  • Cytokineslanimal model
  • Interleukin 6
  • Intracerebral tumour growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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