An Emerging Landscape for Canonical and Actionable Molecular Alterations in Primary and Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Jun;19(6):1373-1382. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0531. Epub 2020 Mar 27.


Patients with prostate cancer with tumors harboring defects in DNA-repair genes (DRD) generally do not respond well to AR-directed therapy. Furthermore, canonical pathways evolve during disease progression and may affect treatment with existing therapies. Due to the limited treatment options after failure of hormonal and taxane therapy, and the tumor heterogeneity induced by DRD, we sought to characterize the alterations in primary and metastatic prostate cancer. Tumors from 1,027 patients with advanced prostate cancer that underwent comprehensive genomic profiling for routine clinical care were reviewed to assess DRD mutation rates (27-gene panel) and co-occurring mutations in select canonical prostate cancer pathways. DRD alterations were identified in 20 genes and in 17% of patients (BRCA2 and ATM most common) occurring with slightly higher frequency in specimens from metastatic biopsy sites and men older than 50 years of age. Microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) and tumor mutational burden-high occurred with 3% frequency in the overall cohort but were not enriched in metastatic disease. Biomarkers previously associated with antitumor immunity are found at high frequencies in MSI-H patients, including JAK1 (68%) and PTEN (32%). Lastly, mutations in TP53, AR, PTEN, APC, CTNNB1, and PIK3CA were all significantly enriched in metastatic samples. We identified clinically significant subgroups of patients demonstrating (1) defects in DNA-repair pathways, (2) intrinsic prostate cancer signaling pathways that may prevent antitumor immunity, and (3) distinct genomic differences between localized and metastatic prostate cancer. These results lend support that genomic profiling for advanced prostate cancer may identify actionable targets not routinely used in the current metastatic paradigm.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor