Interrogating androgen receptor function in recurrent prostate cancer.

Departments of Biological Chemistry, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.28). 09/2003; 63(15):4552-60.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The early androgen-dependent (AD) phase of prostate cancer is dependent on the androgen receptor (AR). However, it is unclear whether AR is fully functional in recurrent prostate cancer after androgen withdrawal. To address this issue we interrogated AR signaling in AD and recurrent prostate cancer xenografts using molecular imaging, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and immunohistochemistry. In the imaging experiments, an adenovirus bearing a two-step transcriptional activation cassette, which amplifies AR-dependent firefly luciferase reporter gene activity, was injected into tumors implanted into severe combined immunodeficiency mice. A charge-coupled device optical imaging system detected the initial loss and then resumption of AR transcriptional activity in D-luciferin-injected mice as tumors transitioned from AD to recurrent growth. The results of chromatin immunoprecipitation and immunohistochemical localization experiments correlated with the Ad two-step transcriptional activation imaging signal. AR localized to the nucleus and bound to the endogenous prostate-specific antigen enhancer in AD tumors but exited the nucleus and dissociated from the enhancer upon castration. However, AR reentered the nucleus and rebound the prostate-specific antigen enhancer as the cancer transitioned into the recurrent phase. Surprisingly, RNA polymerase II and the general factor TFIIB remained bound to the gene throughout the transition. Our data support the concept that AR is fully functional in recurrent cancer and suggest a model by which a poised but largely inactive transcription complex facilitates reactivation by AR at castrate levels of ligand.

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