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Differential expression of inflammasomes in lung cancer cell lines and tissues

Kong, H;Wang, Y;Zeng, X;Wang, Z;Wang, H;Xie, W;

As pivotal elements involved in inflammation, inflammasomes represent a group of multiprotein complexes triggering the maturation of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-18. Although the importance of the inflammasomes in inflammatory diseases is well appreciated, a precise characterization of their expressions in lung cancer remains obscure. This study aimed to determine the expressions of inflammasomes in various lung cancer cell lines and tissues to understand their potential roles in lung cancer. Our findings showed that inflammasome components were markedly upregulated in lung cancer and elicited the maturation of IL-1 and IL-18. In addition, enormous variations in subtypes and levels of inflammasomes were detected in lung cancers depending on their histological type and grading, invasion ability, as well as chemoresistance. Generally, AIM2 inflammasome was overexpressed in nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while NLRP3 inflammasome was upregulated in lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The high-metastatic or cisplatin-sensitive NSCLC cells expressed more inflammasome components and products than their counterpart low-metastatic or cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells, respectively. In resected lung cancer tissues, high-grade ADC expressed more inflammasome components and products than low-grade ADC. Together, these findings suggest that inflammasomes may be crucial biomarkers for lung cancer as well as potential modulators of the biological behaviors of lung cancer. Further, pharmacotherapeutics targeting inflammasomes might be novel adjuvant therapy strategies for lung cancer.