IL-34, IL-36 and IL-38 in colorectal cancer-key immunoregulators of carcinogenesis

Colorectal Cancer

Bao S, et al. Biophys Rev 2020 - Review.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is still a big killer nowadays, but the precise underlying mechanism remains to be explored. It is believed that imbalance of host immunity in the local microenvironment plays a critical role in the tumorigenesis of CRC. IL-34 is inversely correlated with overall survival in CRC patients, perhaps via regulating terminal differentiation of a subset of macrophages (M2). It is believed that the recruitment/differentiation of M2 macrophages within the cancer simply represents

an increase in number, but the function of these M2 macrophages may be compromised. IL-36s (IL-36α, β and γ) are constitutively expressed in non-cancer colon tissue, but colonic IL-36α, IL-36β and IL-36γ are substantially reduced in the CRC tissues (~ 80%). IL-36α is an independent factor affecting the survival of CRC patients. The level of IL-36α and/or IL-36γ in CRC tissue could potentially be used as biomarkers for predicting the prognosis of CRC at both the later or early stages of CRC. IL-38 is also an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Colonic IL-38 is ~ 95% lower in CRC compared to non-CRC colonic tissue, consistent with the positive correlation between differentiation of CRC, and colonic tumour expression of IL-38. IL-38 is a reliable/sensitive biomarker for distinguishing between CRC and non-cancer colonic tissue. There is a positive correlation between colonic IL-38 in CRC and prognosis and/or overall survival, particularly in advanced CRC, supporting IL-38 probably being a reliable and consistent independent factor in predicting the prognosis of CRC. The findings above may be useful in exploring therapeutic targeting for precision medicine.