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Am J Pathol. 2013 May;182(5):1811-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2013.01.018. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Decreased tumorigenesis and mortality from bladder cancer in mice lacking urothelial androgen receptor.

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George H. Whipple Lab for Cancer Research, the Departments of Pathology, Urology, and Radiation Oncology, and the Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Much fewer mice lacking androgen receptor (AR) in the entire body develop bladder cancer (BCa). However, the role of urothelial AR (Uro-AR) in BCa development remains unclear. In the present study, we generated mice that lacked only Uro-AR (Uro-AR(-/y)) to develop BCa by using the carcinogen BBN [N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)-nitrosamine] and found that Uro-AR(-/y) mice had a lower incidence of BCa and a higher survival rate than did their wild-type (WT; Uro-AR(+/y)) littermates. In vitro assay also demonstrated that Uro-AR facilitates the neoplastic transformation of normal urothelial cells to carcinoma. IHC staining exhibited less DNA damage, with much higher expression of p53 and its downstream target protein PNCA in Uro-AR(-/y) than that found in WT urothelium, which suggests that Uro-AR may modulate bladder tumorigenesis through p53-PCNA DNA repair signaling. Indeed, Uro-AR(-/y) mice with the transgene, simian vacuolating virus 40 T (SV40T), in the urothelium (Uro-SV40T-AR(-/y)) had a similar incidence of BCa as did their WT littermates (Uro-SV40T-AR(+/y)), and p53 was inactivated by SV40T in both genotypes. Use of the AR degradation enhancer ASC-J9 led to suppression of bladder tumorigenesis, with few adverse effects in the BBN-induced BCa mouse model. Together, these results provide the first direct in vivo evidence that Uro-AR has an important role in promoting bladder tumorigenesis and BCa progression. Targeting AR with ASC-J9 may provide a novel approach to suppress BCa initiation.

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