BackgroundAndrogen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the first-line treatment to metastatic prostate cancer (PCa). However, sustained expression and function of the androgen receptor (AR) gene contribute to the progression of castration resistant prostate cancers (CRPC). Additionally, tumors can adapt the PI3K/AKT survival pathway to escape ADT. Co-targeting AR and PI3K/AKT signaling has been proposed to be a more effective therapeutic means for CRPC patients. Many clinical trials are ongoing to test whether PI3K/AKT inhibitors are beneficial to PCa patients. However whether these inhibitors have any impacts on the expressions of full length AR (AR-FL) and its splice variant (AR-V7) remains unclear.
MethodsFour human prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, LNCaP95, VCaP and 22Rv1) with different genetic backgrounds were treated with five PI3K/AKT inhibitors (LY294002, Wortmannin, BKM120, AKTi and AZD5363) and or AKT siRNA. AR and AR-V7 protein and mRNA levels were measured by immunoblotting and real-time PCR assays. AR gene transcription initiation, alternative RNA splicing and AR mRNA degradation rates were also determined.
ResultsPI3K/AKT inhibitors had various impacts on AR protein expressions primarily through alterations of AR gene transcription initiation and RNA splicing. However, these effects remained unchanged in the presence RNA silencing of the AKT genes.
ConclusionPI3K/AKT inhibitors have off-target effects on AR gene expression in prostate cancer cells, which shall be considered when applying these inhibitors to PCa patients, particularly patients under ADT treatment.
SUBMITTER: Liu L