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Cancer Treat Rev. 2015 Dec;41(10):884-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2015.08.002. Epub 2015 Aug 31.

Understanding and overcoming the mechanisms of primary and acquired resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide in castration resistant prostate cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Medical Oncology, University of Turin at San Luigi Hospital, Orbassano, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Oncology, Medical Oncology, University of Turin at San Luigi Hospital, Orbassano, Italy.


In recent years, in castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), several new drugs have been approved that prolong overall survival, including enzalutamide and abiraterone, two new-generation hormonal therapies. Despite the demonstrated benefit of these agents, not all patients with CRPC are responsive to treatment, the gain in median progression-free survival with these therapies compared to standard of care is, rather disappointingly, still less than six months and the appearance of acquired resistance is almost universal. Approximately one third of patients treated with abiraterone and 25% of those treated with enzalutamide show primary resistance to these agents. Even if the mechanisms of resistance to these agents are not fully defined, many hypotheses are emerging, including systemic and intratumoral androgen biosynthesis up-regulation, androgen receptor (AR) gene mutations and amplifications, alteration of pathways involved in cross-talk with AR signaling, glucocorticoid receptor overexpression, neuroendocrine differentiation, immune system deregulation and others. The aim of this paper is to review currently available data about mechanisms of resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide, and to discuss how these mechanisms could be potentially overcome through novel therapeutic agents.


Abiraterone; Enzalutamide; Mechanisms of resistance; Prostate cancer

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