Interleukin-6 regulation of prostate cancer cell growth

J Cell Biochem. 2005 Jun 1;95(3):497-505. doi: 10.1002/jcb.20477.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is involved in regulation of immune reaction and cell growth and differentiation. It causes multifunctional responses ranging from inhibition of proliferation to promotion of cell survival. IL-6 effects may depend on experimental conditions such as passage numbers and serum composition. IL-6 signals in target tissues through the receptor that is composed of the ligand-binding and signal-transducing subunits. IL-6 is expressed in benign and malignant prostate tissue and the levels of the cytokine and its receptor increase during prostate carcinogenesis. IL-6 is considered a positive growth factor for most prostate cells. The only exemption seems to be the LNCaP cell line, in which IL-6 causes growth arrest and induces differentiation function. In contrast, IL-6 acts as an autocrine growth factor in the subline LNCaP-IL-6+ established after chronic treatment with IL-6. IL-6 is a candidate for targeted therapy in prostate cancer because of its association with morbidity. Activation of signaling pathways of Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription factors, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase has been reported in various prostate cancer cell lines. IL-6 and the related cytokine oncostatin M induce activation of the androgen receptor (AR) in the absence of androgen. IL-6 is also involved in regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor expression as well as neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate. Anti-IL-6 antibodies showed an inhibitory effect on the PC-3 xenograft. However, the development of this therapy in prostate cancer is in early stages.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism


  • Interleukin-6
  • Receptors, Androgen