Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) variant AR-V7 is a ligand-independent transcription factor that promotes prostate cancer resistance to AR-targeted therapies. Accordingly, efforts are under way to develop strategies for monitoring and inhibiting AR-V7 in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). The purpose of this study was to understand whether other AR variants may be coexpressed with AR-V7 and promote resistance to AR-targeted therapies. Experimental Design: We utilized complementary short- and long-read sequencing of intact AR mRNA isoforms to characterize AR expression in CRPC models. Coexpression of AR-V7 and AR-V9 mRNA in CRPC metastases and circulating tumor cells was assessed by RNA-seq and RT-PCR, respectively. Expression of AR-V9 protein in CRPC models was evaluated with polyclonal antisera. Multivariate analysis was performed to test whether AR variant mRNA expression in metastatic tissues was associated with a 12-week progression-free survival endpoint in a prospective clinical trial of 78 CRPC-stage patients initiating therapy with the androgen synthesis inhibitor, abiraterone acetate. Results: AR-V9 was frequently coexpressed with AR-V7. Both AR variant species were found to share a common 30 terminal cryptic exon, which rendered AR-V9 susceptible to experimental manipulations that were previously thought to target AR-V7 uniquely. AR-V9 promoted ligand-independent growth of prostate cancer cells. High AR-V9 mRNA expression in CRPC metastases was predictive of primary resistance to abiraterone acetate (HR ¼ 4.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.31–12.2; P ¼ 0.02). Conclusions: AR-V9 may be an important component of therapeutic resistance in CRPC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research