Interleukin 6 (IL-6) plays important roles in the immune system, hematopoiesis, as well as the growth of various tumors. Androgens are important in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer and their effects are mediated by androgen receptor (AR). Here we present a molecular mechanism for the effects of IL-6 on prostate cancer cells through a cross-talk between IL-6 and AR signaling pathways. IL-6-induced activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) was augmented by AR in the presence of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In addition, DHT treatment augmented endogenous STAT3-mediated gene expression by IL-6. Conversely, DHT-induced AR activity was increased by IL-6, and a dominant negative form of STAT3 inhibited AR activation. In contrast, DHT-mediated enhancement of STAT3 activation was inhibited by flutamide, an AR antagonist. We provide evidence that these activities are due to direct physical interactions between STAT3 and AR in prostate cancer cells.
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