Androgen receptor cross-talk with cell signalling pathways

Growth Factors. 2004 Sep;22(3):179-84. doi: 10.1080/08977190412331279908.


The androgen receptor (AR) is implicated in regulation of cellular events in advanced prostate cancer. It is expressed in primary tumours as well as in metastases from patients who failed endocrine therapy. Activation of the AR in metastatic tumours occurs as a result of increased sensitivity of the receptor, point mutations that alter activation spectrum and in response to various nonsteroidal compounds. Peptide growth factors that activate the signalling pathway of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) stimulate AR activity in ligand-independent or synergistic manner. Outcome of nonsteroidal activation depends on cellular and promoter context. AR activation by Her-2/neu is associated with enhanced tumour growth of the LAPC-4 xenograft. The issue whether MAPK or protein kinase Akt involved in growth factor signalling directly phosphorylate the AR is a matter of debate. AR ligand-independent activation by protein kinase A activators was also demonstrated. Under physiological conditions, potentiation of AR activity by low doses of androgen might be of importance in prostate cancer patients who receive endocrine therapy. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and related cytokines also activate AR in a ligand-independent and synergistic manner. IL-6 is a pleiotropic regulator of tumour growth, which in some prostate cancers acts as a paracrine growth inhibitor and in other cases as an autocrine growth stimulator. Activation of the AR by IL-6 requires functional pathways of Janus kinases/signal transducers and activators of transcription factors and MAPK. Studies on AR co-activators implicated in ligand-independent activation may further improve understanding of cross-talk between signalling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Point Mutation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Growth Substances
  • Interleukin-6
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases