Androgen and the androgen receptor (AR) are critical effectors of prostate cancer. Consequently, androgen deprivation therapy is typically employed as a first-line treatment for prostate cancer patients. While initial responses are generally positive, prostate tumors frequently recur and progress to a lethal form known as castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Recently, considerable effort has been directed toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms of CRPC. Results from both preclinical and clinical studies suggest that AR-mediated signaling persists and remains functionally important in CRPC despite the elimination of androgens. Understanding the role of this pathway in the development of resistance will therefore be critical to identify alternative diagnostic markers as well as more effective therapies for the treatment of CRPC. Using next-generation sequencing and other high-throughput approaches, numerous groups are beginning to identify the key differences in the transcriptional regulatory and gene expression programs between androgen-dependent and CRPC. A number of mechanisms have been proposed for the differences and these mostly involve alterations to components of the AR co-regulatory network. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on co-regulators of the AR and discuss their potential roles in CRPC. It is anticipated that a deeper understanding of these factors will undercover new targets that can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of CRPC.
Keywords: androgen receptor; castration resistant; co-regulators; prostate cancer.