Androgen Receptor Gene Rearrangements: New Perspectives on Prostate Cancer Progression
Brand LJ, Dehm SM. Curr Drug Targets. 2013 Feb 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Source

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA. dehm@umn.edu.

Abstract

The androgen receptor (AR) is a master regulator transcription factor in normal and cancerous prostate cells. Canonical AR activation requires binding of androgen ligand to the AR ligand binding domain, translocation to the nucleus, and transcriptional activation of AR target genes. This regulatory axis is targeted for systemic therapy of advanced prostate cancer. However, a new paradigm for AR activation in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has emerged wherein alternative splicing of AR mRNA promotes synthesis of constitutively active AR variants that lack the AR ligand binding domain (LBD). Recent work has indicated that structural alteration of the AR gene locus represents a key mechanism by which alterations in AR mRNA splicing arise. In this review, we examine the role of truncated AR variants (ARVs) and their corresponding genomic origins in models of prostate cancer progression, as well as the challenges they pose to the current standard of prostate cancer therapies targeting the AR ligand binding domain. Since ARVs lack the COOH-terminal LBD, the genesis of these AR gene rearrangements and their resulting ARVs provides strong rationale for the pursuit of new avenues of therapeutic intervention targeted at the AR NH2-terminal domain. We further suggest that genomic events leading to ARV expression could act as novel biomarkers of disease progression that may guide the optimal use of current and next-generation AR-targeted therapy.