Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is suggested to have a pathogenic role in the progression of prostate cancer (PC), therefore representing an attractive target for new therapies. However, due to the pleiotropy of this cytokine, targeting IL-6 results in different and unpredictable responses. In order to better understand the mechanisms underlying the different responses to the cytokine, we focused our attention on IL-6 receptors (IL-6Rs) that represent the first element in the cascade of cytokine-activated signalling pathways. IL-6 signal transduction may indeed occur through the membrane IL-6R (classical signalling) and/or through the less studied soluble IL-6R (sIL-6R; IL-6 trans-signalling (IL-6TS)). We provide the first evidence how responses to IL-6 may depend on the different content of IL-6Rs in PC. In particular, the studies of 3H-thymidine incorporation and exploitation of different approaches (i.e. activation or inhibition of IL-6TS in sIL-6R-negative and -positive cell lines and transfection of IL-6R siRNA) allowed us to demonstrate that IL-6TS specifically accounts for an anti-proliferative effect of the cytokine in three PC cell lines that are known to respond differently to IL-6. Additionally, by applying migration-, scratch- and adhesion assays, we show that IL-6TS increases motility and migration and decreases adhesion of prostate cells facilitating thereby processes that determine metastasis initiation and spread. Finally, by western analyses, we uncovered an IL-6- and sIL-6R-dependent downregulation of the tumour suppressor maspin. Collectively, these data suggest that selective targeting of IL-6TS might allow to refine the currently available experimental anti-IL-6 therapies against PC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism