Loss of TIMP-3 promotes tumor invasion via elevated IL-6 production and predicts poor survival and relapse in HPV-infected non-small cell lung cancer

De Wei Wu, Lung Hung Tsai, Po Ming Chen, Ming Ching Lee, Lee Wang, Chih Yi Chen, Ya Wen Cheng, Huei Lee

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Human papillomavirus (HPV) 16/18 E6 oncoprotein is expressed in lung tumors and is associated with p53 inactivation. The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP-3) is essential for limiting inflammation; therefore, we expected that TIMP-3 loss might induce chronic inflammation, thereby promoting tumor malignancy as well as poor survival and relapse in patients with HPV-infected non-small cell lung cancer. In this study, the loss of TIMP-3 by loss of heterozygosity and/or promoter hypermethylation was more frequent in HPV16/18 E6-positive tumors than in E6-negative tumors. To explore the possible underlying mechanism, E6-negative TL4 and CL1-0 cells were transfected with an E6 cDNA plasmid. A marked decrease in TIMP-3 expression was caused by promoter hypermethylation via increased DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) expression. Mechanistic studies indicated that TIMP-3 loss promoted interleukin-6 (IL-6) production, which led to cell invasion and anchorage-independent growth on soft agar plates. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression models showed that patients with low-TIMP-3/high-IL-6 tumors had shorter overall survival and relapse-free survival periods when compared with patients with high-TIMP-3/low-IL-6 tumors. In summary, loss of TIMP-3 may increase IL-6 production via the tumor necrosis factor α/nuclear factor κB axis, thereby promoting tumor malignancy and subsequent relapse and poor survival in patients with HPV-infected non-small cell lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1796-1806
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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