The importance of non-nuclear AR signaling in prostate cancer progression and therapeutic resistance

The androgen receptor (AR) remains the major oncogenic driver of prostate cancer, as evidenced by the efficacy of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in naïve patients, and the continued effectiveness of second generation ADTs in castration resistant disease.

However, current ADTs are limited to interfering with AR ligand binding, either through suppression of androgen production or the use of competitive antagonists. Recent studies demonstrate 1) the expression of constitutively active AR splice variants that no longer depend on androgen, and 2) the ability of AR to signal in the cytoplasm independently of its transcriptional activity (non-genomic); thus highlighting the need to consider other ways to target AR. Herein, we review canonical AR signaling, but focus on AR non-genomic signaling, some of its downstream targets and how these effectors contribute to prostate cancer cell behavior. The goals of this review are to 1) re-highlight the continued importance of AR in prostate cancer as the primary driver, 2) discuss the limitations in continuing to use ligand binding as the sole targeting mechanism, 3) discuss the implications of AR non-genomic signaling in cancer progression and therapeutic resistance, and 4) address the need to consider non-genomic AR signaling mechanisms and pathways as a viable targeting strategy in combination with current therapies.

Cellular signalling. 2016 Jan 29 [Epub ahead of print]

Jelani C Zarif, Cindy K Miranti

The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287, United States. , Lab of Integrin Signaling and Tumorigenesis, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.