Long noncoding RNA-SRLR elicits intrinsic sorafenib resistance via evoking IL-6/STAT3 axis in renal cell carcinoma

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Although the use of sorafenib appears to increase the survival rate of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients, there is also a proportion of patients who exhibit a poor primary response to sorafenib therapy. It is therefore critical to elucidate the mechanisms underlying sorafenib resistance and find representative biomarkers for sorafenib treatment in RCC patients. Herein, we identified a long noncoding RNA referred to as lncRNA-SRLR (sorafenib resistance-associated lncRNA in RCC) that is upregulated in intrinsically sorafenibresistant RCCs. lncRNA-SRLR knockdown sensitized nonresponsive RCC cells to sorafenib treatment, whereas the overexpression of lncRNA-SRLR conferred sorafenib resistance to responsive RCC cells. Mechanistically, lncRNA-SRLR directly binds to NF-κB and promotes IL-6 transcription, leading to the activation of STAT3 and the development of sorafenib tolerance. A STAT3 inhibitor and IL-6-receptor antagonist both restored the response to sorafenib treatment. Moreover, a clinical investigation demonstrated that high levels of lncRNA-SRLR correlated with poor responses to sorafenib therapy in RCC patients. Collectively, lncRNA-SRLR may serve as not only a predictive biomarker for inherent sorafenib resistance but also as a therapeutic target to enhance responses to sorafenib in RCC patients.

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