Androgen receptor splice variants and prostate cancer: From bench to bedside

Therapeutic interventions for advanced prostate cancer (PCa) center on inhibiting androgen receptor (AR) and downstream signaling pathways. Resistance to androgen deprivation therapy and/or AR antagonists is inevitable and molecular mechanisms driving castration-resistant PCa (CR-PCa) primarily involve alterations in AR expression and activity. Detailed molecular biology work over the past decade, discussed at length in this review article, has revealed several AR transcripts that result from alternative splicing. These AR splice variants are increased in cell and mouse models of CR-PCa and in CR-PCa tumors. Several AR variants lack the ligand binding domain, but retain their ability to bind DNA and activate transcription-linking constitutive AR function and therapeutic failure. ARV7 is the only variant endogenously detected at the protein level and thus has undergone more thorough molecular characterization. Clinical trials in PCa are currently investigating ARV7 utility as a biomarker and new therapeutics that inhibit ARV7 . Overall, this review will illustrate the historical perspectives of AR splice variant discovery using fundamental molecular biology techniques and how it changed the clinical approach to both therapeutic decisions and strategy. The body of work investigating AR splice variants in PCa represents a true example of translational research from bench to bedside.

Oncotarget. 2017 Jan 06 [Epub ahead of print]

Kristine M Wadosky, Shahriar Koochekpour

Department of Cancer Genetics, Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA.