cGAS-STING drives IL6-dependent survival of chromosomally instable cancers

20 June 2022

cGAS-STING drives IL6-dependent survival of chromosomally instable cancers
by Christy Hong, et al

Chromosomal instability (CIN), the tendency of cells to misdistribute chromosomes during mitosis, is a hallmark  feature of cancer cells. As healthy cells rarely display CIN, targeting cells with CIN is considered an attractive cancer therapy. The Foijer lab at ERIBA has discovered that cells that misdistribute chromosomes activate an inflammatory response in cells, and they mapped the underlying molecular mechanism. The ERIBA team finds that cells rely on this inflammatory response for survival and the signalling substance IL-6. Vice versa, they also find that that inhibiting IL-6 signalling promotes apoptosis specifically in cells with CIN. Importantly, an existing anti-inflammatory drug, tocilizumab, which blocks the receptor of the signalling substance IL-6, impairs the growth of chromosomally instable cancer cells, both in cultured cells as well as in mouse models. Their findings therefore suggest this anti-inflammatory drug can possibly be used as a therapy for certain types of cancer in the future.

The results were published in Nature and can be freely accessed here: A summary of the study can be found here:


This work was done in collaboration with UMCG researchers Marcel van Vugt and Marco de Bruyn and funded by the Dutch Cancer Society and UMCG-funded PhD fellowships.


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