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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Jul 15;89(14):6319-23.

Androgen receptor gene mutations in human prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.


We screened human prostate cancer tissues for the presence of somatic mutations in the hormone binding domain of the androgen receptor (AR) gene. Exons E-H were amplified from genomic DNA using the polymerase chain reaction and analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), which separates DNA fragments that differ by only a single base. We detected a mutation in exon E of the hormone binding domain in 1 of 26 specimens of untreated organ-confined stage B prostate cancer. The mutation was not detectable in peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA. Lymphocyte DNA (wild-type AR) migrated in DGGE as a single band. The tumor DNA migrated in DGGE as four bands, consistent with the presence of cells with mutant AR plus cells with wild-type AR and indicating that the tumor contained a somatic mutation. To our knowledge, a somatic AR gene mutation has not been reported previously. Sequencing revealed a G----A substitution in codon 730, changing valine to methionine. Codon 730 is in a region highly conserved among all steroid receptors. The abundance of the mutated fragment (about 50% of the DNA in the specimen) indicates its presence in cells with a growth advantage. A somatic mutation could be detected by DGGE if it represented at least 10% of the sample. Failure to detect mutations in other specimens analyzed may be due to this limit of sensitivity, the presence of mutations in other parts of the AR, or a low frequency of mutations in early stage disease.

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