Distinct Transcriptional Programs Mediated by the Ligand-Dependent Full-Length Androgen Receptor and Its Splice Variants in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
ABSTRACT Continued androgen receptor (AR) signaling is an established mechanism underlying castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), and suppression of androgen receptor signaling remains a therapeutic goal of CRPC therapy. Constitutively active androgen receptor splice variants (AR-Vs) lack the androgen receptor ligand-binding domain (AR-LBD), the intended target of androgen deprivation therapies including CRPC therapies such as abiraterone and MDV3100. While the canonical full-length androgen receptor (AR-FL) and AR-Vs are both increased in CRPCs, their expression regulation, associated transcriptional programs, and functional relationships have not been dissected. In this study, we show that suppression of ligand-mediated AR-FL signaling by targeting AR-LBD leads to increased AR-V expression in two cell line models of CRPCs. Importantly, treatment-induced AR-Vs activated a distinct expression signature enriched for cell-cycle genes without requiring the presence of AR-FL. Conversely, activation of AR-FL signaling suppressed the AR-Vs signature and activated expression programs mainly associated with macromolecular synthesis, metabolism, and differentiation. In prostate cancer cells and CRPC xenografts treated with MDV3100 or abiraterone, increased expression of two constitutively active AR-Vs, AR-V7 and ARV567ES, but not AR-FL, paralleled increased expression of the androgen receptor-driven cell-cycle gene UBE2C. Expression of AR-V7, but not AR-FL, was positively correlated with UBE2C in clinical CRPC specimens. Together, our findings support an adaptive shift toward AR-V-mediated signaling in a subset of CRPC tumors as the AR-LBD is rendered inactive, suggesting an important mechanism contributing to drug resistance to CRPC therapy.
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ABSTRACT: Targeting androgen receptor (AR) axis signaling by disrupting androgen-AR interactions remains the primary treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. Unfortunately, all men develop resistance to primary castrating therapy and secondary androgen deprivation therapies (ADTs). Resistance develops in part because castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cells adaptively up-regulate AR levels through overexpression, amplification, and expression of ligand-independent variants in response to chronic exposure to a low-testosterone environment. However, preclinical models suggest that AR overexpression represents a therapeutic liability that can be exploited via exposure to supraphysiologic testosterone to promote CRPC cell death. Preclinical data supported a pilot study in which 16 asymptomatic CRPC patients with low to moderate metastatic burden were treated with testosterone cypionate (400 mg intramuscular; day 1 of 28) and etoposide (100 mg oral daily; days 1 to 14 of 28). After three cycles, those with a declining prostate-specific antigen (PSA) continued on intermittent testosterone therapy monotherapy. Castrating therapy was continued to suppress endogenous testosterone production, allowing for rapid cycling from supraphysiologic to near-castrate serum testosterone levels, a strategy termed bipolar androgen therapy (BAT). BAT was well tolerated and resulted in high rates of PSA (7 of 14 evaluable patients) and radiographic responses (5 of 10 evaluable patients). Although all men showed eventual PSA progression, four men remained on BAT for ≥1 year. All patients (10 of 10) demonstrated PSA reductions upon receiving androgen-ablative therapies after BAT, suggesting that BAT may also restore sensitivity to ADTs. BAT shows promise as treatment for CRPC and should be further evaluated in larger trials. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.Science translational medicine 01/2015; 7(269):269ra2-269ra2. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3010563 · 14.41 Impact Factor
Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(8 Supplement):2148-2148. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-2148 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Androgen receptor splice variants (AR-Vs)-which are expressed in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cell lines and clinical samples-lack the C-terminal ligand-binding domain and are constitutively active. AR-Vs are, therefore, resistant to traditional androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). AR-Vs are induced by several mechanisms, including ADT, and might contribute to the progression of CRPC and resistance to ADT. AR-Vs could represent a novel therapeutic target for prostate cancer, especially in CRPC.Nature Reviews Urology 02/2015; 12(3). DOI:10.1038/nrurol.2015.13 · 4.52 Impact Factor