Emerging Variants of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Curr Oncol Rep. 2017 May;19(5):32. doi: 10.1007/s11912-017-0593-6.


Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is associated with substantial clinical, pathologic, and molecular heterogeneity. Most tumors remain driven by androgen receptor (AR) signaling, which has clinical implications for patient selection for AR-directed approaches. However, histologic and clinical resistance phenotypes can emerge after AR inhibition, in which the tumors become less dependent on the AR. In this review, we discuss prostate cancer variants including neuroendocrine (NEPC) and aggressive variant (AVPC) prostate cancers and their clinical implications. Improvements in the understanding of the biologic mechanisms and molecular features underlying prostate cancer variants may help prognostication and facilitate the development of novel therapeutic approaches for subclasses of patient with CRPC.

Keywords: Aggressive variant; Androgen indifference; Androgen-independent prostate cancer; Castration-resistant prostate cancer; Neuroendocrine prostate cancer; Small-cell prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / classification
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / genetics
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / classification
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / therapy
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Receptors, Androgen