A Large Study of Androgen Receptor Germline Variants and Their Relation to Sex Hormone Levels and Prostate Cancer Risk. Results from the National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium
ABSTRACT Androgens are key regulators of prostate gland maintenance and prostate cancer growth, and androgen deprivation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for advanced prostate cancer for many years. A long-standing hypothesis has been that inherited variation in the androgen receptor (AR) gene plays a role in prostate cancer initiation. However, studies to date have been inconclusive and often suffered from small sample sizes.
We investigated the association of AR sequence variants with circulating sex hormone levels and prostate cancer risk in 6058 prostate cancer cases and 6725 controls of Caucasian origin within the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium. We genotyped a highly polymorphic CAG microsatellite in exon 1 and six haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms and tested each genetic variant for association with prostate cancer risk and with sex steroid levels.
We observed no association between AR genetic variants and prostate cancer risk. However, there was a strong association between longer CAG repeats and higher levels of testosterone (P = 4.73 x 10(-5)) and estradiol (P = 0.0002), although the amount of variance explained was small (0.4 and 0.7%, respectively).
This study is the largest to date investigating AR sequence variants, sex steroid levels, and prostate cancer risk. Although we observed no association between AR sequence variants and prostate cancer risk, our results support earlier findings of a relation between the number of CAG repeats and circulating levels of testosterone and estradiol.
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- "However, the factors responsible for shaping the frequency and distribution of AR CAGn, which varies in number between eight and thirty-seven repeats in healthy humans (Zitzmann et al. 2003; Lindstrom et al. 2010), and its potential role in unexplained heritability in those diseases have received little attention (but see Hannan 2010). Here, we suggest AR CAGn as a promising, paradigmatic candidate helping explain missing heritability in human disease mediated by androgen levels, and we propose and evaluate four potential models of selection acting on the AR CAG locus to maintain intermediate repeat frequency in human populations: balancing selection, sexual conflict, accumulation-selection , and antagonistic pleiotropy. "
ABSTRACT: Variation in polyglutamine repeat number in the androgen receptor (AR CAGn) is negatively correlated with the transcription of androgen-responsive genes and is associated with susceptibility to an extensive list of human disease. Only a small portion of the heritability for many of these diseases is explained by conventional SNP-based genome-wide association studies, and the forces shaping AR CAGn among humans remains largely unexplored. Here, we propose evolutionary models for understanding selection at the AR CAG locus, namely balancing selection, sexual conflict, accumulation-selection, and antagonistic pleiotropy. We evaluate these models by examining AR CAGn-linked susceptibility to eight extensively studied diseases representing the diverse physiological roles of androgens, and consider the costs of these diseases by their frequency and fitness effects. Five diseases could contribute to the distribution of AR CAGn observed among contemporary human populations. With support for disease susceptibilities associated with long and short AR CAGn, balancing selection provides a useful model for studying selection at this locus. Gender-specific differences AR CAGn health effects also support this locus as a candidate for sexual conflict over repeat number. Accompanied by the accumulation of AR CAGn in humans, these models help explain the distribution of repeat number in contemporary human populations.Evolutionary Applications 02/2013; 6(2):180-96. DOI:10.1111/j.1752-4571.2012.00275.x · 4.57 Impact Factor
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- "2. Androgen action is determined by cooperation of androgen and AR. Populations with a longer CAG repeat polymorphism of AR, which leads to higher plasma androgen levels to compensate for lower AR transactivity   , usually have more genetic polymorphisms leading to lower androgen concentration. These opposing genetic Androgen-associated ethnical differences and prostate cancer 138 Am J Cancer Res 2013;3(2):127-151 effects may also minimize the population disparity of androgen levels. "
ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most commonly diagnosed male malignancy and the second biggest cause of cancer death in men of the Western world. Higher incidences of PCa occur in men from North America, Oceania and Western countries, whereas men from Asia and North Africa have a much lower PCa incidence rate. Investigations into this population disparity of PCa incidence, in order to identify potential preventive factors or targets for the therapeutic intervention of PCa, have found differences in both environmental and genetic variations between these populations. Environmental variations include both diet and lifestyle, which vary widely between populations. Evidence that diet comes into play has been shown by men who immigrate from Eastern to Western countries. PCa incidence in these men is higher than men in their native countries. However the number of immigrants developing PCa still doesn't match native black/white men, therefore genetic factors also contribute to PCa risk, which are supported by familial studies. There are a number of genetic polymorphisms that are differentially presented between Western and Eastern men, which are potentially associated with PCa incidence. Androgen and its receptor (AR) play a major role in PCa development and progression. In this study, we focus on genes involved in androgen biosynthesis and metabolism, as well as those associated with AR pathway, whose polymorphisms affect androgen level and biological or physiological functions of androgen. While many of the genetic polymorphisms in this androgen/AR system showed different frequencies between populations, contradictory evidences exist for most of these genes investigated individually as to the true contribution to PCa risk. More accurate measurements of androgen activity within the prostate are required and further studies need to include more African and Asian subjects. As many of these genetic polymorphisms may contribute to different steps in the same biological/physiological function of androgen and AR pathway, an integrated analysis considering the combined effect of all the genetic polymorphisms may be necessary to assess their contribution to PCa initiation and progression.American Journal of Cancer Research 01/2013; 3(2):127-151. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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- "Moreover, the variations observed in polyQ tract length in PCa patient populations are not significantly different from those found in the general population . Recently, studies with large cohorts of patient samples (normal and PCa) have disqualified any significance for polyQ tract length in PCa  . "
ABSTRACT: Recent technological advancements in gene expression analysis have led to the discovery of a promising new group of prostate cancer (PCa) biomarkers that have the potential to influence diagnosis and the prediction of disease severity. The accumulation of deleterious changes in gene expression is a fundamental mechanism of prostate carcinogenesis. Aberrant gene expression can arise from changes in epigenetic regulation or mutation in the genome affecting either key regulatory elements or gene sequences themselves. At the epigenetic level, a myriad of abnormal histone modifications and changes in DNA methylation are found in PCa patients. In addition, many mutations in the genome have been associated with higher PCa risk. Finally, over- or underexpression of key genes involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, cell adhesion and regulation of transcription has been observed. An interesting group of biomarkers are emerging from these studies which may prove more predictive than the standard prostate specific antigen (PSA) serum test. In this review, we discuss recent results in the field of gene expression analysis in PCa including the most promising biomarkers in the areas of epigenetics, genomics and the transcriptome, some of which are currently under investigation as clinical tests for early detection and better prognostic prediction of PCa.American Journal of Cancer Research 01/2012; 2(6):620-57. · 3.97 Impact Factor