Androgen receptor (AR) is a steroid receptor transcriptional factor for testosterone and dihydrotestosterone consisting of four main domains, the N-terminal domain, DNA-binding domain, hinge region, and ligand-binding domain. AR plays pivotal roles in prostate cancer, especially castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Androgen deprivation therapy can suppress hormone-naïve prostate cancer, but prostate cancer changes AR and adapts to survive under castration levels of androgen. These mechanisms include AR point mutations, AR overexpression, changes of androgen biosynthesis, constitutively active AR splice variants without ligand binding, and changes of androgen cofactors. Studies of AR in CRPC revealed that AR was still active in CRPC, and it remains as a potential target to treat CRPC. Enzalutamide is a second-generation antiandrogen effective in patients with CRPC before and after taxane-based chemotherapy. However, CRPC is still incurable and can develop drug resistance. Understanding the mechanisms of this resistance can enable new-generation therapies for CRPC. Several promising new AR-targeted therapies have been developed. Apalutamide is a new Food and Drug Administration-approved androgen agonist binding to the ligand-binding domain, and clinical trials of other new AR-targeted agents binding to the ligand-binding domain or N-terminal domain are underway. This review focuses on the functions of AR in prostate cancer and the development of CRPC and promising new agents against CRPC.
Keywords: AR-V7; Androgen receptor; Apalutamide; Castration resistant; Prostate cancer; Testosterone.
Copyright © 2019 Korean Society for Sexual Medicine and Andrology.