IL-7/IL-7 receptor axis stimulates prostate cancer cell invasion and migration via AKT/NF-κB pathway

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IL-7, acting via IL-7 receptor (IL-7R), plays an important role in tumor progression. Elevated IL-7 expression has been reported to be observed in prostate cancer tissues and closely associated with poor prognosis. However, the biological functions of IL-7 and its receptor in prostate cancer cell invasiveness remain unclear. In our study, we found that the expressions of IL-7 and IL-7R were both upregulated in prostate cancer cells. IL-7 dose-dependently promoted the invasion and migration of prostate cancer cells, whereas knockdown of IL-7R attenuated the effect of IL-7. Further, IL-7/IL-7R axis induced the activation of AKT and NF-κB, whereas blocking of AKT suppressed IL-7-mediated NF-κB activity. Moreover, IL-7/IL-7R axis increased MMP-3 and MMP-7 expression of prostate cancer cells, whereas inhibition of NF-κB as well as MMPs activity suppressed IL-7-mediated cell invasion and migration. Together, these data identify IL-7/IL-7R axis to be involved in prostate cancer cell invasion and migration, probably via activating AKT/NF-κB pathway and upregulating MMP-3 and MMP-7 expression. Therefore, blocking IL-7/IL-7R axis may provide a potential therapeutic strategy to treat prostate cancer.

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