ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe proinflammatory cytokine IL6 is associated with bad prognosis in prostate cancer and implicated in progression to castration resistance. Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) is an IL6-induced negative feedback regulator of the IL6/Janus kinase (JAK)/STAT3 pathway. This study reveals that the SOCS3 promoter is hypermethylated in cancerous regions compared with adjacent benign tissue in prostate cancer using methylation-specific qPCR. A series of in vitro experiments was performed to assess the functional impact of low SOCS3 expression during anti-androgen treatment. Using lentivirus-mediated knockdown, it was demonstrated for the first time that SOCS3 regulates IL6/JAK/STAT3 signaling in androgen receptor–positive LNCaP cells. In addition, SOCS3 mRNA is upregulated by the anti-androgens bicalutamide and enzalutamide. This effect is caused by androgen receptor–mediated suppression of IL6ST and JAK1 expression, which leads to altered STAT3 signaling. Functionally, knockdown of SOCS3 led to enhanced androgen receptor activity after 3 weeks of enzalutamide treatment in an inflammatory setting. Furthermore, the stemness/self-renewal associated genes SOX2 and NANOG were strongly upregulated by the long-term treatment, and modulation of SOCS3 expression was sufficient to counteract this effect. These findings prove that SOCS3 plays an important role during anti-androgen treatment in an inflammatory environment.Implications:SOCS3 is frequently inactivated by promoter hypermethylation in prostate cancer, which disrupts the feedback regulation of IL6 signaling and leads to reduced efficacy of enzalutamide in the presence of inflammatory cytokines. Mol Cancer Res; 14(6); 574–85. ©2016 AACR.