Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 23:103639. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2021.103639. Online ahead of print.
Chemotherapy is generally effective for extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma (ENKTCL), nasal type. Nevertheless, multidrug resistance (MDR) remains a key challenge in treating nasal NK/T-cell lymphoma. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is reportedly an important regulator of MDR in many cancers, implicating a role of IL-6 in the chemotherapy response. However, the effects and mechanism of IL-6 in nasal NK/T-cell lymphoma remain unclear. Herein, we demonstrated that the IL-6 serum level was decreased in nasal NK/T-cell lymphoma patients compared to chronic rhinitis patients. Lower serum levels of IL-6 were closely correlated with Ki67 expression and patient survival. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) drug transporter ABCC4 in patients was abnormally upregulated. IL-6 significantly inhibited resistance to Adriamycin (ADM) in ADM-resistant SNK-6 cells (SNK-6/ADM). Moreover, IL-6 resulted in cell cycle arrest and led to apoptosis in SNK-6/ADM cells. Furthermore, IL-6 decreased ABCC4, p-JAK2, p-STAT3, and phospho-NF-κB p65 expression in SNK6/ADM cells. IL-6 in combination with ADM inhibited tumor growth and increased the survival of SNK-6/ADM xenograft mice. In conclusion, our findings suggest that IL-6 can inhibit the upregulation of ABCC4 and inactivate the JAK2/STAT3/NF-κB/P65 pathway to sensitize NK/T-cell lymphoma to ADM, indicating that combination therapy with IL-6 and other chemotherapeutic drugs may be effective in reversing acquired resistance in nasal NK/T-cell lymphoma.