Background: We previously showed that Nrdp1, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is transcriptionally regulated by the androgen receptor (AR) in prostate cancer (CaP) cells and that Nrdp1 can post-translationally regulate ErbB3 (an EGFR family member) levels via ubiquitination and subsequent proteasomal degradation. Increased levels of ErbB3 are associated with worse CaP patient outcome. The goal of the current study was to determine whether dysregulation of the AR-Nrdp1-ErbB3 axis contributes to prostate cancer health disparities for African American (AA) men, and to identify the underlying mechanisms involved. Methods: Expression levels and localization of AR, Nrdp1, and ErbB3 were assessed in a total of 208 CaP patient samples (50 African American (AA) and 158 Caucasian (CA) CaP patients) and two cell lines (LNCaP (CA) and MDAPCa2b (AA)). Expression levels and localization of these molecules were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and subcellular fractionation and western blot. A combination of knockdown (siRNA), forced overexpression (Nrdp1-FLAG construct), and treatment with enzalutamide or synthetic androgen (R1881) experiments were employed to investigate the relationship between AR, Nrdp1, and ErbB3 expression levels and localization and to identify differences in AA and CA cell lines. Immunoprecipitation allowed for investigation of the mechanisms which facilitate nuclear transport of Nrdp1. Results: A statistically significant negative association between cytoplasmic levels of AR (AR C) and nuclear Nrdp1 (Nrdp1 N) exists in both Caucasian (CA) and African American (AA) prostate cancer (CaP) patients, but this association was stronger in AA patients compared to CA patients (Spearman correlation coefficient of -0.62 for AA patients, and -0.36 for CA patients). Increased nuclear Nrdp1 expression levels were associated with increased 5-year survival rates, and reduced nuclear Nrdp1 expression levels predicted biochemical recurrence (AUC 0.63). Dysregulation of the AR-Nrdp1-ErbB3 axis in AA CaP cells was also observed in cell line studies; AA CaP cells expressed significantly lower levels of both total and nuclear Nrdp1 compared to their CA CaP counterparts. Manipulation of AR expression levels and localization via knockdown and inhibition with enzalutamide had a lesser impact on Nrdp1 expression levels and localization in AA versus CA CaP cells. Immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that Nrdp1 can bind to AR in CA CaP cells but not AA CaP cells. Conclusions: Our combined data indicate that dysregulation of the AR-Nrdp1-ErbB3 axis occurs to a larger extent in AA than CA CaP cells and that this can contribute to worse patient outcomes. Our data also indicate that lack of binding between AR and Nrdp1 in AA CaP cells may account for the lower levels of nuclear Nrdp1 observed in AA CaP cells. Further understanding of the mechanisms which regulate Nrdp1 levels and localization may allow for the development of treatments which help abrogate cancer health disparities.

Citation Format: Anhao Sam, Shawna Evans, Elizabeth Browning, Sheryl Krig, Neelu Batra, Thomas Steele, Salma Siddqui, Paramita Ghosh, Ruth Vinall. Dysregulation of the AR-Nrdp1-ErbB3 axis occurs in African American prostate cancer patients and is associated with worse outcomes [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2019 Sep 20-23; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl_2):Abstract nr B083.