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Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 1;67(17):8388-95.

Activity of androgen receptor antagonist bicalutamide in prostate cancer cells is independent of NCoR and SMRT corepressors.

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  • 1Cancer Biology Program/Hematology-Oncology Division, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The mechanisms by which androgen receptor (AR) antagonists inhibit AR activity, and how their antagonist activity may be abrogated in prostate cancer that progresses after androgen deprivation therapy, are not clear. Recent studies show that AR antagonists (including the clinically used drug bicalutamide) can enhance AR recruitment of corepressor proteins [nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR) and silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid receptors (SMRT)] and that loss of corepressors may enhance agonist activity and be a mechanism of antagonist failure. We first show that the agonist activities of weak androgens and an AR antagonist (cyproterone acetate) are still dependent on the AR NH(2)/COOH-terminal interaction and are enhanced by steroid receptor coactivator (SRC)-1, whereas the bicalutamide-liganded AR did not undergo a detectable NH(2)/COOH-terminal interaction and was not coactivated by SRC-1. However, both the isolated AR NH(2) terminus and the bicalutamide-liganded AR could interact with the SRC-1 glutamine-rich domain that mediates AR NH(2)-terminal binding. To determine whether bicalutamide agonist activity was being suppressed by NCoR recruitment, we used small interfering RNA to deplete NCoR in CV1 cells and both NCoR and SMRT in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Depletion of these corepressors enhanced dihydrotestosterone-stimulated AR activity on a reporter gene and on the endogenous AR-regulated PSA gene in LNCaP cells but did not reveal any detectable bicalutamide agonist activity. Taken together, these results indicate that bicalutamide lacks agonist activity and functions as an AR antagonist due to ineffective recruitment of coactivator proteins and that enhanced coactivator recruitment, rather than loss of corepressors, may be a mechanism contributing to bicalutamide resistance.

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