Molecularly targeted therapies for advanced prostate cancer include castration modalities that suppress ligand-dependent transcriptional activity of the androgen receptor (AR). However, persistent AR signalling undermines therapeutic efficacy and promotes progression to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), even when patients are treated with potent second-generation AR-targeted therapies abiraterone and enzalutamide. Here we define diverse AR genomic structural rearrangements (AR-GSRs) as a class of molecular alterations occurring in one third of CRPC-stage tumours. AR-GSRs occur in the context of copy-neutral and amplified AR and display heterogeneity in breakpoint location, rearrangement class and sub-clonal enrichment in tumours within and between patients. Despite this heterogeneity, one common outcome in tumours with high sub-clonal enrichment of AR-GSRs is outlier expression of diverse AR variant species lacking the ligand-binding domain and possessing ligand-independent transcriptional activity. Collectively, these findings reveal AR-GSRs as important drivers of persistent AR signalling in CRPC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)