AR-V7 and Resistance to Enzalutamide and Abiraterone in Prostate Cancer

N Engl J Med. 2014 Sep 11;371(11):1028-38. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1315815. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

Abstract

Background: The androgen-receptor isoform encoded by splice variant 7 lacks the ligand-binding domain, which is the target of enzalutamide and abiraterone, but remains constitutively active as a transcription factor. We hypothesized that detection of androgen-receptor splice variant 7 messenger RNA (AR-V7) in circulating tumor cells from men with advanced prostate cancer would be associated with resistance to enzalutamide and abiraterone.

Methods: We used a quantitative reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction assay to evaluate AR-V7 in circulating tumor cells from prospectively enrolled patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who were initiating treatment with either enzalutamide or abiraterone. We examined associations between AR-V7 status (positive vs. negative) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response rates (the primary end point), freedom from PSA progression (PSA progression-free survival), clinical or radiographic progression-free survival, and overall survival.

Results: A total of 31 enzalutamide-treated patients and 31 abiraterone-treated patients were enrolled, of whom 39% and 19%, respectively, had detectable AR-V7 in circulating tumor cells. Among men receiving enzalutamide, AR-V7-positive patients had lower PSA response rates than AR-V7-negative patients (0% vs. 53%, P=0.004) and shorter PSA progression-free survival (median, 1.4 months vs. 6.0 months; P<0.001), clinical or radiographic progression-free survival (median, 2.1 months vs. 6.1 months; P<0.001), and overall survival (median, 5.5 months vs. not reached; P=0.002). Similarly, among men receiving abiraterone, AR-V7-positive patients had lower PSA response rates than AR-V7-negative patients (0% vs. 68%, P=0.004) and shorter PSA progression-free survival (median, 1.3 months vs. not reached; P<0.001), clinical or radiographic progression-free survival (median, 2.3 months vs. not reached; P<0.001), and overall survival (median, 10.6 months vs. not reached, P=0.006). The association between AR-V7 detection and therapeutic resistance was maintained after adjustment for expression of full-length androgen receptor messenger RNA.

Conclusions: Detection of AR-V7 in circulating tumor cells from patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer may be associated with resistance to enzalutamide and abiraterone. These findings require large-scale prospective validation. (Funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and others.).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androstenes
  • Androstenols / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morphinans / analysis
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Receptors, Androgen / analysis
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survival Analysis

Substances

  • Androstenes
  • Androstenols
  • MDV 3100
  • Morphinans
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Phenylthiohydantoin
  • Mr 1257 MS
  • abiraterone