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Prostate. 2004 Jan 1;58(1):23-32.

Effect of a short CAG (glutamine) repeat on human androgen receptor function.

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The Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, Detroit, Michigan 48202-3450, USA.



The human androgen receptor (AR) gene contains an uninterrupted CAG repeat that is polymorphic in length in the general population (range, 11-31 CAG's; median, 21). The CAG repeat encodes a glutamine repeat in the N-terminal transactivation domain of the AR protein. We previously reported that a 17-CAG AR gene was much more common in a cohort of men with prostate cancer (8.5%) than in the general European American population (1.3%). This suggested that a 17-CAG repeat may have pathophysiological consequences. The goal of the present study was to directly test the hypothesis that a 17-CAG repeat might uniquely affect androgen action in human prostate cancer cells.


DU145 cells, lacking endogenous AR, were transiently transfected with an AR expression plasmid (with a CAG repeat ranging in length from 14 to 25) and an androgen-responsive reporter plasmid (PSA-luciferase).


We found a significant effect of CAG repeat length on AR protein levels per unit amount of DNA transfected (one-way ANOVA, P = 0.02), indicating the need to express transactivation data per unit amount of AR protein. CAG17 AR had 40% more transactivation activity per unit amount of AR protein than CAG21 AR (P < 0.01).


Thus, an AR with a 17-CAG repeat may mediate more efficacious growth stimulation of androgen-dependent prostate epithelial cells, and thereby increase the risk that prostate cancer cells develop more efficiently into a clinically significant cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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