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PLoS One. 2013 May 2;8(5):e63466. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063466. Print 2013.

Constitutively active androgen receptor variants upregulate expression of mesenchymal markers in prostate cancer cells.

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  • 1INSERM U1113, Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS), Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France.


Androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway remains the foremost target of novel therapeutics for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, the expression of constitutively active AR variants lacking the carboxy-terminal region in CRPC may lead to therapy inefficacy. These AR variants are supposed to support PCa cell growth in an androgen-depleted environment, but their mode of action still remains unresolved. Moreover, recent studies indicate that constitutively active AR variants are expressed in primary prostate tumors and may contribute to tumor progression. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of constitutively active AR variants on the expression of tumor progression markers. N-cadherin expression was analyzed in LNCaP cells overexpressing the wild type AR or a constitutively active AR variant by qRT-PCR, Western blot and immunofluorescence. We showed here for the first time that N-cadherin expression was increased in the presence of constitutively active AR variants. These results were confirmed in C4-2B cells overexpressing these AR variants. Although N-cadherin expression is often associated with a downregulation of E-cadherin, this phenomenon was not observed in our model. Nevertheless, in addition to the increased expression of N-cadherin, an upregulation of other mesenchymal markers expression such as VIMENTIN, SNAIL and ZEB1 was observed in the presence of constitutively active variants. In conclusion, our findings highlight novel consequences of constitutively active AR variants on the regulation of mesenchymal markers in prostate cancer.

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