Clinically-observed FOXA1 mutations upregulate SEMA3C through transcriptional derepression in prostate cancer.

FOXA1 is a pioneer transcription factor that is frequently mutated in prostate, breast, bladder, and salivary gland malignancies. Indeed, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) commonly harbour FOXA1 mutations with a prevalence of 35%. However, despite the frequent recurrence of FOXA1 mutations in prostate cancer, the mechanisms by which FOXA1 variants drive its oncogenic effects are still unclear. Semaphorin 3C (SEMA3C) is a secreted autocrine growth factor that drives growth and treatment resistance of prostate and other cancers and is known to be regulated by both AR and FOXA1. In the present study, we characterize FOXA1 alterations with respect to its regulation of SEMA3C. Our findings reveal that FOXA1 alterations lead to elevated levels of SEMA3C both in prostate cancer specimens and in vitro. We further show that FOXA1 negatively regulates SEMA3C via intronic cis elements, and that mutations in FOXA1 forkhead domain attenuate its inhibitory function in reporter assays, presumably by disrupting DNA binding of FOXA1. Our findings underscore the key role of FOXA1 in prostate cancer progression and treatment resistance by regulating SEMA3C expression and suggest that SEMA3C may be a driver of growth and tumor vulnerability of mCRPC harboring FOXA1 alterations.

Scientific reports. 2024 Mar 25*** epublish ***

Kevin J Tam, Liangliang Liu, Michael Hsing, Kush Dalal, Daksh Thaper, Brian McConeghy, Parvin Yenki, Satyam Bhasin, James W Peacock, Yuzhuo Wang, Artem Cherkasov, Paul S Rennie, Martin E Gleave, Christopher J Ong

Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada., Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada. .