What Is the Role of Interleukins in Breast Cancer Bone Metastases? A Systematic Review of Preclinical and Clinical Evidence

Francesca Salamanna, Veronica Borsari, Deyanira Contartese, Viviana Costa, Gianluca Giavaresi, Milena Fini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Breast cancer cells produce stimulators of bone resorption known as interleukins (ILs). However, data on the functional roles of ILs in the homing of metastatic breast cancer to bone are still fragmented. A systematic search was carried out in three databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection) to identify preclinical reports, and in three clinical registers (ClinicalTrials.gov, World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, European Union (EU) Clinical Trials Register) to identify clinical trials, from 2008 to 2019. Sixty-seven preclinical studies and 11 clinical trials were recognized as eligible. Although preclinical studies identified specific key ILs which promote breast cancer bone metastases, which have pro-metastatic effects (e.g., IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, IL-11), and whose inhibition also shows potential preclinical therapeutic effects, the clinical trials focused principally on ILs (IL-2 and IL-12), which have an anti-metastatic effect and a potential to generate a localized and systemic antitumor response. However, these clinical trials are yet to post any results or conclusions. This inconsistency indicates that further studies are necessary to further develop the understanding of cellular and molecular relations, as well as signaling pathways, both up- and downstream of ILs, which could represent a novel strategy to treat tumors that are resistant to standard care therapies for patients affected by breast cancer bone disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 13 2019



  • bone metastases
  • breast cancer
  • clinical trials
  • interleukins
  • preclinical studies

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