Much fewer mice lacking androgen receptor (AR) in the entire body develop bladder cancer (BCa). However, the role of urothelial AR (Uro-AR) in BCa development remains unclear. In the present study, we generated mice that lacked only Uro-AR (Uro-AR(-/y)) to develop BCa by using the carcinogen BBN [N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)-nitrosamine] and found that Uro-AR(-/y) mice had a lower incidence of BCa and a higher survival rate than did their wild-type (WT; Uro-AR(+/y)) littermates. In vitro assay also demonstrated that Uro-AR facilitates the neoplastic transformation of normal urothelial cells to carcinoma. IHC staining exhibited less DNA damage, with much higher expression of p53 and its downstream target protein PNCA in Uro-AR(-/y) than that found in WT urothelium, which suggests that Uro-AR may modulate bladder tumorigenesis through p53-PCNA DNA repair signaling. Indeed, Uro-AR(-/y) mice with the transgene, simian vacuolating virus 40 T (SV40T), in the urothelium (Uro-SV40T-AR(-/y)) had a similar incidence of BCa as did their WT littermates (Uro-SV40T-AR(+/y)), and p53 was inactivated by SV40T in both genotypes. Use of the AR degradation enhancer ASC-J9 led to suppression of bladder tumorigenesis, with few adverse effects in the BBN-induced BCa mouse model. Together, these results provide the first direct in vivo evidence that Uro-AR has an important role in promoting bladder tumorigenesis and BCa progression. Targeting AR with ASC-J9 may provide a novel approach to suppress BCa initiation.
Copyright © 2013 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.