Background: Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is traditionally used as an indicator for the presence of prostate cancer (PCa) and radiotherapy is generally used to treat inoperable and locally advanced PCa. However, how cellular PSA level is associated with sensitivity of PCa to radiotherapy is unknown. The previous finding that the RelB-based NF-κB alternative pathway differentially regulates PSA and interleukin-8 (IL-8) in aggressive PCa has directed our attention to the role of RelB in the response of PCa to radiotherapy.

Methodology/Principal Findings: RelB and its targets PSA and IL-8 in PCa cells were manipulated by ectopic expression in PCa cells with a low endogenous level of RelB (LNCaP) and by RNAi-based knock-down in PCa cells with a high constitutive level of RelB (PC3). The effects of RelB, PSA and IL-8 on the response of PCa to radiation treatment were examined in vitro and in xenograft tumors. RelB regulates PSA and IL-8 in an inverse manner. When the cellular levels of PSA and IL-8 were directly modulated by genetic manipulations or by the addition of recombinant proteins, the results demonstrate that up-regulation of IL-8 enhanced radioresistance of PCa cells and concurrently down-regulated PSA. In contrast, up-regulation of PSA resulted in reduced radioresistance with concurrent down-regulation of IL-8.

Conclusion/Significance:RelB plays a critical role in the response of PCa to radiotherapy and the inverse expression of IL-8 and PSA. The results identify a previously unrecognized relationship between IL-8 and PSA in the response of PCa cells to radiotherapy.

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Published in PLoS One, v. 7, no. 3, p. 32905.

© 2012 Xu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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