Proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-6, IL-8, and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) have been detected in tumor specimens and primary cell cultures from patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. IL-1α has been reported to play an important role in inducing the expression of cytokines IL-6, IL-8, and GM-CSF during inflammation. We examined whether these cytokines are expressed together in five primary and seven established UM-SCC cell lines, and we also examined the effects of IL-1α, IL-1 receptor antagonist or neutralizing antibody (Ab) upon expression of this repertoire of proinflammatory cytokines in established UM-SCC lines. Secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1α, IL-6, IL-8, and GM-CSF was detected by ELISA in both the primary and established UM-SCC lines. Constitutive expression of specific mRNAs for these cytokines was confirmed in the UM-SCC lines by reverse transcriptase-PCR and Northern blot analysis. Addition of recombinant IL (rIL)-1α but not rIL-6 induced a dose-dependent increase in IL-8 and GM-CSF production. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-RA) or anti-IL-1 neutralizing Ab could completely inhibit the rIL-1α-inducible increase in IL-8 and GM-CSF expression, but the inhibitors had a negligible effect on the constitutive level of production of the cytokines. Transfer and expression of the IL-1α gene in a low-cytokine-producing cell line, UM-SCC-38, induced IL-8 and GM-CSF expression, but this expression was also not inhibited by IL-1RA or anti-IL-1 neutralizing Ab. We conclude that IL-1α can enhance the expression of cytokines IL-8 and GM-CSF in UM-SCC cell lines but that constitutive expression of these cytokines by UM-SCC is not inhibited by exogenous IL-1RA or neutralizing Ab.

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Supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Intramural Research Project Z01-DC-00016, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Partnership Program Fellowships (to I. C., N. O., M. Y. P.), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholars Program (to M. C.), and the National Naval Medical Center (to J. C. N.).

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