BACKGROUND. Liquid biopsies have demonstrated that the constitutively active androgen receptor splice variant-7 (AR-V7) associates with reduced response and overall survival from endocrine therapies in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). However, these studies provide little information pertaining to AR-V7 expression in prostate cancer (PC) tissue. METHODS. Following generation and validation of a potentially novel AR-V7 antibody for IHC, AR-V7 protein expression was determined for 358 primary prostate samples and 293 metastatic biopsies. Associations with disease progression, fulllength androgen receptor (AR-FL) expression, response to therapy, and gene expression were determined. RESULTS. We demonstrated that AR-V7 protein is rarely expressed (<1%) in primary PC but is frequently detected (75% of cases) following androgen deprivation therapy, with further significant (P = 0.020) increase in expression following abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide therapy. In CRPC, AR-V7 expression is predominantly (94% of cases) nuclear and correlates with AR-FL expression (P ≤ 0.001) and AR copy number (P = 0.026). However, dissociation of expression was observed, suggesting that mRNA splicing remains crucial for AR-V7 generation. AR-V7 expression was heterogeneous between different metastases from a patient, although AR-V7 expression was similar within a metastasis. Moreover, AR-V7 expression correlated with a unique 59-gene signature in CRPC, including HOXB13, a critical coregulator of ARV7 function. Finally, AR-V7-negative disease associated with better prostate-specific antigen (PSA) responses (100% vs. 54%, P = 0.03) and overall survival (74.3 vs. 25.2 months, hazard ratio 0.23 [0.07-0.79], P = 0.02) from endocrine therapies (pre-chemotherapy). CONCLUSION. This study provides impetus to develop therapies that abrogate AR-V7 signaling to improve our understanding of AR-V7 biology and to confirm the clinical significance of AR-V7.
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