Squamous carcinoma cells influence monocyte phenotype and suppress lipopolysaccharide-induced tnf-alpha in monocytes

Aroonwan Lam-ubol, Dustin Hopkin, Elena M. Letuchy, Zoya B. Kurago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Bacteria and chronic inflammation are present in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC), but their roles in the pathogenesis of HNSCC are unclear. Our studies described here revealed that human monocytes co-cultured short term with HNSCC cells were more likely to express CD16, and CD16 + small mononuclear cells were common in HNSCC specimens. In addition, we identified monocytes as the primary source of LPS-induced IL-6 and TNF-alpha in the monocyte-HNSCC co-cultures. Remarkably, relative to LPS-stimulated monocytes cultured alone, HNSCC cells profoundly suppressed LPS-induced TNF-alpha in monocytes, without compromising IL-6 production. High levels of cytoprotective factors like IL-6 and low levels of TNF-alpha are important for the tumor microenvironment that enables tumor cell survival, affects monocyte differentiation and may contribute to tumor colonization by bacteria. This study provides novel observations that HNSCC cells affect monocyte phenotype and function, which are relevant to the regulation of the HNSCC microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Carcinoma
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Monocytes
  • TNF-alpha
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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