Persistent androgen receptor addiction in castration-resistant prostate cancer

J Hematol Oncol. 2015 Nov 13;8:128. doi: 10.1186/s13045-015-0225-2.


It is now understood that persistent activation of the androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway often underlies the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). This realization led to renewed interest in targeting the AR and ultimately to the development of the potent next-generation AR-directed agents abiraterone and enzalutamide. While these drugs prolong survival in men with CRPC, they are unfortunately not curative. Perhaps not surprisingly, evidence points to persistent AR signaling as one of the key drivers by which resistances to these agents develops. In this context, activation of the AR signaling program can occur through a number of molecular adaptations, including alterations leading to persistent canonical AR signaling (e.g., AR amplification/overexpression, elucidations/concentration of intratumoral androgens), activation of the AR program via feedback pathways (e.g., AKT/mTOR/Pi3K, HER2/Neu), and activation of the AR program via mutation or substitution (e.g., AR ligand binding domain mutation; AR splice variants; glucocorticoid receptor signaling). This review will provide an overview of the more clinical relevant (i.e., druggable) pathways that have been implicated in the emergence of drug resistance in men with CRPC and highlight some of the ongoing efforts towards developing therapeutics to impair these mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Androstenes / pharmacology*
  • Androstenes / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzamides
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitriles
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / pharmacology
  • Phenylthiohydantoin / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*


  • AR protein, human
  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Androstenes
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Nitriles
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Phenylthiohydantoin
  • enzalutamide
  • abiraterone