Endocrine-related cancer

IL6 sensitizes prostate cancer to the antiproliferative effect of IFNα2 through IRF9.

PMID 23913484


Development and progression of prostate cancer (PCa) are associated with chronic inflammation. The cytokine interleukin 6 (IL6) can influence progression, differentiation, survival, and angiogenesis of PCa. To identify novel pathways that are triggered by IL6, we performed a gene expression profiling of two PCa cell lines, LNCaP and MDA PCa 2b, treated with 5 ng/ml IL6. Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 9 (IRF9) was identified as one of the most prevalent IL6-regulated genes in both cell lines. IRF9 is a mediator of type I IFN signaling and acts together with STAT1 and 2 to activate transcription of IFN-responsive genes. The IL6 regulation of IRF9 was confirmed at mRNA and protein levels by quantitative real-time PCR and western blot respectively in both cell lines and could be blocked by the anti-IL6 antibody Siltuximab. Three PCa cell lines, PC3, Du-145, and LNCaP-IL6+, with an autocrine IL6 loop displayed high expression of IRF9. A tissue microarray with 36 PCa tissues showed that IRF9 protein expression is moderately elevated in malignant areas and positively correlates with the tissue expression of IL6. Downregulation and overexpression of IRF9 provided evidence for an IFN-independent role of IRF9 in cellular proliferation of different PCa cell lines. Furthermore, expression of IRF9 was essential to mediate the antiproliferative effects of IFNα2. We concluded that IL6 is an inducer of IRF9 expression in PCa and a sensitizer for the antiproliferative effects of IFNα2.