Glucocorticoids manifest androgenic activity in a cell line derived from a metastatic prostate cancer.
The pathophysiological mechanism(s) by which androgen independence develops in prostate cancer remains to be determined. The identification in many prostate cancer specimens of a mutant androgen receptor, T877A, with altered ligand specificity has provided an explanation for some treatment failures. The T877A mutant androgen receptor recognizes a number of nonandrogenic compounds, including certain estrogens, progestins, and even antiandrogens as androgens. However, a comprehensive screen for hormonal agents which display agonist activity on this mutant has not been performed. In this study, we characterized this clinically important receptor mutant further and found that it can be activated by a wide range of compounds, including a number of endogenous glucocorticoids. Among the most clinically relevant compounds identified are DOC and corticosterone, both of which can effectively activate the mutant receptor at concentrations normally found in blood. Dexamethasone, a synthetic glucocorticoid frequently used in various contexts for prostate cancer therapy, is also recognized as an androgen by the mutant receptor. These unexpected findings suggest the need to: (a) reassess the role of adrenally derived glucocorticoids in prostate cancer disease progression; and (b) recognize the potential for iatrogenic stimulation of disease progression with certain glucocorticoid interventions.
Chang, CY; Walther, PJ; McDonnell, DP
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