The inflammatory cytokine IL-6 has been shown to induce the nuclear translocation of androgen receptors in prostate cancer cells and to activate the androgen receptors in a ligand-independent manner, suggesting it may contribute to the development of a castrate-resistant phenotype. Elevated IL-6 serum levels have also been associated with metastasis-related morbidity in prostate cancer patients. We have previously established that over-expression of I-kappa-B-kinase-epsilon (IKKε also named IKKi or IκBKε) in hormone-sensitive prostate cancer cell lines induces IL-6 secretion. We have also reported that prostate cancer cell lines lacking androgen receptor expression exhibit high constitutive IKKε expression and IL-6 secretion. In the present study, we validated the impact of IKKε depletion on the in vitro proliferation of castrate-resistant prostate cancer cells, and characterized how IKKε depletion affects tumor growth and IL-6 tumor secretion in vivo through a mouse xenograft-based approach. We observed a significant growth delay in IKKε-silenced PC-3 cells injected in SCID mice fed with a doxycycline-supplemented diet in comparison with mice fed with a normal diet. We also found a decrease in IL-6 secretion levels that strongly correlated with tumor growth inhibition. Finally, using constructs with various IL-6-mutated promoters, we demonstrated that IKKε over-expression induces a NF-κB-independent stimulation of the IL-6 gene promoter through the activation and nuclear accumulation of the transcription factor C/ EBP-β. Our study demonstrates the pro-proliferative role of the oncogene IKKε in castrate-resistant prostate cancer cell lines, involving the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of C/EBP-β that initiates IL-6 gene expression.
Péant, B., Gilbert, S., Le Page, C., Poisson, A., L’Ecuyer, E., Boudhraa, Z., … Mes-Masson, A.-M. (2016). IκB-Kinase-epsilon (IKKε) over-expression promotes the growth of prostate cancer through the C/EBP-β dependent activation of IL-6 gene expression. Oncotarget, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11629