Oncogenic alterations of the PI3K/AKT pathway occur in >40% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, predominantly via PTEN loss. The significance of other PI3K pathway components in prostate cancer is largely unknown.
Patients in this study underwent tumor sequencing using the MSK-IMPACT clinical assay to capture single-nucleotide variants, insertions, and deletions; copy-number alterations; and structural rearrangements, or were profiled through The Cancer Genome Atlas. The association between PIK3R1 alteration/expression and survival was evaluated using univariable and multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression models. We used the siRNA-based knockdown of PIK3R1 for functional studies. FDG‐PET/CT examinations were performed with a hybrid positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scanner for some prostate cancer patients in the MSK-IMPACT cohort.
Analyzing 1,417 human prostate cancers, we found a significant enrichment of PIK3R1 alterations in metastatic cancers compared with primary cancers. PIK3R1 alterations or reduced mRNA expression tended to be associated with worse clinical outcomes in prostate cancer, particularly in primary disease, as well as in breast, gastric, and several other cancers. In prostate cancer cell lines, PIK3R1 knockdown resulted in increased cell proliferation and AKT activity, including insulin-stimulated AKT activity. In cell lines and organoids, PIK3R1 loss/mutation was associated with increased sensitivity to AKT inhibitors. PIK3R1-altered patient prostate tumors had increased uptake of the glucose analogue 18F‐fluorodeoxyglucose in PET imaging, suggesting increased glycolysis.
Our findings describe a novel genomic feature in metastatic prostate cancer and suggest that PIK3R1 alteration may be a key event for insulin–PI3K–glycolytic pathway regulation in prostate cancer.