Development of cytokine resistance is an important feature of melanoma cells during tumor progression. To study the mechanisms of interleukin-6 resistance, we examined an interleukin-6 sensitive (WM35) and an interleukin-6 unresponsive cell line (WM9). Interleukin-6 treatment resulted in rapid inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2/cyclin E activity and accumulation of the hypophosphorylated retinoblastoma protein in WM35 but not in WM9 cells. In contrast to previous reports, no differences in the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase 2 inhibitor p21Cip1/WAF1 upon interleukin-6 treatment were found in both cell lines. Interleukin-6-induced inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 was also not due to changes in protein expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 2, cyclin E, p27Kip1 and cdc25A, a phosphatase positively regulating cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity. As it is established that interleukin-6 resistance of WM9 cells is not caused by differential interleukin-6 receptor expression, we studied whether this is due to defective interleukin-6 signaling in which activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 is a critical step. WM9 cells showed reduced tyrosine phosphorylation, DNA binding, and delayed nuclear translocation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 as compared with WM35 cells. The kinase upstream of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, Janus kinase 1, was constitutively tyrosine-phosphorylated in WM9 cells and did not respond to interleukin-6 with increased phosphorylation. As compared with WM35 cells, interleukin-6 treatment of WM9 cells was not paralleled by reduced activity of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-1, which suppresses activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3. Our data suggest that resistance of advanced melanoma cells to interleukin-6 is associated with reduced inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2, which appears to be a consequence of a complex alteration in interleukin-6 signal transduction.