Recent studies suggest that progression to castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is due to generation of androgen receptor (AR) splice variants, lacking the ligand binding domain. These AR variants originally identified in cell-based models of CRPC, have also been detected in benign and malignant human prostate tissue, with the highest levels observed in late state CRPC. The diversity and complexity of AR variants is well appreciated but not fully understood. Using RT-PCR we assessed the expression of a number of AR variants in cell-based models of both castrate-resistant and androgen-dependent prostate cancer. Several AR variants were expressed in both 22Rv1 and VCaP cells, but not in LNCaP cells. Coding sequences for AR variants were cloned into expression vectors and constitutive transcriptional activity was observed using a luciferase reporter assay. Augmented transcriptional activity of AR variants was observed in cells that express full-length AR, when full-length AR was silenced using shRNA targeting exons 7/8. This observation suggests the constitutive activity of AR variants may be independent of full-length AR. We profiled the AR variant transcriptome in 22Rv1 cells, using the Illumina HumanHT12 v4 whole-genome expression array platform. shRNA targeting exon 1 was used to silence all AR isoforms and shRNA targeting exons 7/8 was used to silence full-length AR. 5,256 genes were modulated by knocking down all AR isoforms and 5,086 genes were modulated by knocking down full-length AR. A total of 3,714 genes were common to both groups, leaving 1542 genes modulated by AR variants and 1372 modulated by full-length AR (p<0.05). The represents a subset of genes differentially regulated by AR variants independently of full length AR. Aggregate function of multiple AR variants may confer a CRPC phenotype independent of full-length AR. Pathway analysis of these genes differentially regulated by AR variants may reveal potential targets for therapeutic intervention in patients who progress despite androgen deprivation or anti-androgen therapy. (Supported by NIH grants CA125747, CA091956 and CA121277, T.J. Martell Foundation and the Mayo Clinic Prostate Cancer SPORE).

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2012 Mar 31-Apr 4; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2012;72(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 2924. doi:1538-7445.AM2012-2924