Hypoxic cancer cells are resistant to treatment, leading to the selection of cells with a more malignant phenotype. The expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8) plays an important role in the tumorigenesis and metastasis of solid tumors including prostate cancer. Recently, we detected elevated expression of IL-8 and IL-8 receptors in human prostate cancer tissue. The objective of the current study was to determine whether hypoxia increases IL-8 and IL-8 receptor expression in prostate cancer cells and whether this contributes to a survival advantage in hypoxic cells. IL-8, CXCR1 and CXCR2 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in PC3 cells was upregulated in response to hypoxia in a time-dependent manner. Elevated IL-8 secretion following hypoxia was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, while immunoblotting confirmed elevated receptor expression. Attenuation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) transcriptional activity using small interfering RNA (siRNA), a HIF-1 dominant-negative and pharmacological inhibitors, abrogated hypoxia-induced transcription of CXCR1 and CXCR2 in PC3 cells. Furthermore, chromatin-IP analysis demonstrated binding of HIF-1 and NF-kappaB to CXCR1. Finally, inhibition of IL-8 signaling potentiated etoposide-induced cell death in hypoxic PC3 cells. These results suggest that IL-8 signaling confers a survival advantage to hypoxic prostate cancer cells, and therefore, strategies to inhibit IL-8 signaling may sensitize hypoxic tumor cells to conventional treatments.