The current mainstay therapeutic strategy for advanced prostate cancer is to suppress androgen receptor (AR) signaling. However, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) invariably arises with restored AR signaling activity. To date, the AR ligand-binding domain (LBD) is the only targeted region for all clinically available AR signaling antagonists, such as enzalutamide (ENZ). Major resistance mechanisms have been uncovered to sustain the AR signaling in CRPC despite these treatments, including AR amplification, AR LBD mutants, and the emergence of AR splice variants (AR-Vs) such as AR-V7. AR-V7 is a constitutively active truncated form of AR that lacks the LBD; thus, it can not be inhibited by AR LBD-targeting drugs. Therefore, an approach to inhibit AR through the regions outside of LBD is urgently needed. In this study, we have discovered a novel small molecule SC428, which directly binds to the AR N-terminal domain (NTD) and exhibits pan-AR inhibitory effect. SC428 potently decreased the transactivation of AR-V7, ARv567es, as well as full-length AR (AR-FL) and its LBD mutants. SC428 substantially suppressed androgen-stimulated AR-FL nuclear translocation, chromatin binding, and AR-regulated gene transcription. Moreover, SC428 also significantly attenuated AR-V7–mediated AR signaling that does not rely on androgen, hampered AR-V7 nuclear localization, and disrupted AR-V7 homodimerization. SC428 inhibited in vitro proliferation and in vivo tumor growth of cells that expressed a high level of AR-V7 and were unresponsive to ENZ treatment. Together, these results indicated the potential therapeutic benefits of AR-NTD targeting for overcoming drug resistance in CRPC.

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