Inappropriately regulated expression of IL-17A is associated with the development of inflammatory diseases and cancer. However, little is known about the role of other IL-17 family members in carcinogenesis. Here, we show that a set of malignant T-cell lines established from patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) spontaneously secrete IL-17F and that inhibitors of Jak and Stat3 are able to block that secretion. Other malignant T-cell lines produce IL-17A but not IL-17F. Upon activation, however, some of the malignant T-cell lines are able to co-express IL-17A and IL-17F leading to formation of IL-17A/F heterodimers. Clinically, we demonstrate that IL-17F mRNA expression is significantly increased in CTCL skin lesions when compared to healthy donors and patients with chronic dermatitis. IL-17A expression is also increased and a significant number of patients express high levels of both IL-17A and IL-17F. Concomitantly, we observe that the expression of the IL-17 receptor is significantly increased in CTCL skin lesions when compared to control subjects. Importantly, analysis of a historic cohort of 60 CTCL patients indicates that IL-17F expression is associated with progressive disease. These findings implicate IL-17F in the pathogenesis of CTCL and suggest that IL-17 cytokines and their receptors may serve as therapeutic targets.
Blood (online), 2013, Vol 122, Issue 6, p. 943-950