Targeting androgen receptor activation function-1 with EPI to overcome resistance mechanisms in castration-resistant prostate cancer

Yu Chi Yang, Carmen Adriana Banuelos, Nasrin R Mawji, Jun Wang, Minoru Kato, Simon Haile, Iain J McEwan, Stephen Plymate, Marianne D Sadar

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Purpose: Persistent androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity is clinically evident in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Therefore, AR remains as a viable therapeutic target for CRPC. All current hormonal therapies target the C-terminus ligand-binding domain (LBD) of AR. By using EPI to target AR activation function-1 (AF-1), in the N-terminal domain that is essential for AR transactivation, we evaluate the ability of EPI to overcome several clinically relevant AR-related mechanisms of resistance.

Experimental Design: To study the effect of EPI on AR transcriptional activity against overexpressed coactivators, such as SRC1-3 and p300, luciferase reporter assays were performed using LNCaP cells. AR-negative COS-1 cells were employed for reporter assays to examine whether the length of polyglutamine tract affects inhibition by EPI. The effect of EPI on constitutively active AR splice variants was studied in LNCaP95 cells, which express AR-V7 variant. To evaluate the effect of EPI on the proliferation of LNCaP95 cells, we performed in vitro BrdUrd incorporation assay and in vivo studies using xenografts in mice.

Results: EPI effectively overcame several molecular alterations underlying aberrant AR activity, including overexpressed coactivators, AR gain-of-function mutations, and constitutively active AR-V7. EPI inhibited AR transcriptional activity regardless of the length of polyglutamine tract. Importantly, EPI significantly inhibited the in vitro and in vivo proliferation of LNCaP95 prostate cancer cells, which are androgen independent and enzalutamide resistant.

Conclusions: These findings support EPI as a promising therapeutic agent to treat CRPC, particularly against tumors driven by constitutively active AR splice variants that are resistant to LBD-targeting drugs. Clin Cancer Res; 22(17); 4466–77. ©2016 AACR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4466–4477
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number17
Early online date2 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • androgen receptor
  • N-terminal domain
  • EPI
  • castration-resistant prostate cancer
  • resistance mechanisms


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