Defects in the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10) tumor suppressor gene have been found in many human cancers including breast and prostate. Here we show that PTEN suppresses androgen receptor (AR) activity via a phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase/Akt-independent pathway in the early passage numbers prostate cancer LNCaP cells. We provide the direct links between PTEN and androgen/AR signaling by demonstrating that AR directly interacts with PTEN. The interaction between PTEN and AR inhibits the AR nuclear translocation and promotes the AR protein degradation that result in the suppression of AR transactivation and induction of apoptosis. The minimum interaction peptide within AR (amino acids 483-651) disrupts the interaction of PTEN with AR and reduces the PTEN effect on AR transactivation and apoptosis. Genetic approaches using PTEN-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) further demonstrate that both AR expression and AR activity were much higher in PTEN-null MEFs than wild-type MEFs, and reintroducing PTEN into PTEN-null MEFs dramatically reduced AR protein levels and AR activity. Interestingly, we also found that PTEN could suppress AR activity via the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase/Akt-dependent pathway in the higher passage number LNCaP cells, because restoration of Akt activity blocks the effect of PTEN on AR activity. Together, these contrasting PTEN effects on AR activity in the same prostate cancer cell line with different passage numbers suggest that PTEN, via distinct mechanisms, differentially regulates AR in various stages of prostate cancers.