Multiple studies have demonstrated the importance of androgen receptor (AR) splice variants (SVs) in the progression of prostate cancer to the castration-resistant phenotype and their utility as a diagnostic. However, studies on AR expression in non-prostatic malignancies uncovered that AR-SVs are expressed in glioblastoma, breast, salivary, bladder, kidney, and liver cancers, where they have diverse roles in tumorigenesis. AR-SVs also have roles in non-cancer pathologies. In granulosa cells from women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, unique AR-SVs lead to an increase in androgen production. In patients with nonobstructive azoospermia, testicular Sertoli cells exhibit differential expression of AR-SVs, which is associated with impaired spermatogenesis. Moreover, AR-SVs have been identified in normal cells, including blood mononuclear cells, neuronal lipid rafts, and the placenta. The detection and characterization of AR-SVs in mammalian and non-mammalian species argue that AR-SV expression is evolutionarily conserved and that AR-SV-dependent signaling is a fundamental regulatory feature in multiple cellular contexts. These discoveries argue that alternative splicing of the AR transcript is a commonly used mechanism that leads to an expansion in the repertoire of signaling molecules needed in certain tissues. Various malignancies appropriate this mechanism of alternative AR splicing to acquire a proliferative and survival advantage.
Biomedicines. 2023 Aug 07*** epublish ***
Kimberley D Katleba, Paramita M Ghosh, Maria Mudryj
Veterans Affairs-Northern California Health Care System, 10535 Hospital Way, Mather, CA 95655, USA.