Breast cancer is the most common malignancy affecting women worldwide. While a small fraction of breast cancers have a hereditary component, environmental and behavioral factors also impact the development of cancer. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a member of the Herpesviridae family that is widespread in the general population and has been linked to several forms of cancer. While HCMV DNA has been found in some breast cancer tissue specimens, we wanted to investigate whether a secreted viral cytokine might have an effect on cancerous or even pre-cancerous cells. HCMV encodes an ortholog of the human cellular cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). The HCMV UL111A gene product is cmvIL-10, which has 27% sequence identity to IL-10 and binds the cellular IL-10 receptor (IL-10R) to induce downstream cell signaling. We found that MCF-7 human breast cancer cells express IL-10R and that exposure to cmvIL-10 results in enhanced proliferation and increased chemotaxis of MCF-7 cells. PCR arrays revealed that treatment with cmvIL-10 alters expression of cell adhesion molecules and increases MMP gene expression. In particular, MMP-10 gene expression was found to be significantly up-regulated and this correlated with an increase in cell-associated MMP-10 protein produced by MCF-7 cells exposed to cmvIL-10. These results suggest that the presence of cmvIL-10 in the tumor microenvironment could contribute to the development of more invasive tumors.
Bishop, R. K., Valle Oseguera, C. A., & Spencer, J. V. (2015). Human Cytomegalovirus interleukin-10 promotes proliferation and migration of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Cancer Cell & Microenvironment, 2(1), e678. http://doi.org/10.14800/ccm.678.