Background: Detection of androgen receptor splice variant-7 (AR-V7) mRNA in circulating tumour cells (CTCs) is associated with worse outcome in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). However, studies rarely report comparisons with CTC counts and biopsy AR-V7 protein expression. Objective: To determine the reproducibility of AdnaTest CTC AR-V7 testing, and associations with clinical characteristics, CellSearch CTC counts, tumour biopsy AR-V7 protein expression and overall survival (OS). Design, setting, and participants: CTC AR-V7 status was determined for 227 peripheral blood samples, from 181 mCRPC patients with CTC counts (202 samples; 136 patients) and matched mCRPC biopsies (65 samples; 58 patients). Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: CTC AR-V7 status was associated with clinical characteristics, CTC counts, and tissue biopsy AR-V7 protein expression. The association of CTC AR-V7 status and other baseline variables with OS was determined. Results and limitations: Of the samples, 35% were CTC+/AR-V7+. CTC+/AR-V7+ samples had higher CellSearch CTC counts (median CTC; interquartile range [IQR]: 60, 19–184 vs 9, 2–64; Mann-Whitney test p < 0.001) and biopsy AR-V7 protein expression (median H-score, IQR: 100, 63–148 vs 15, 0–113; Mann-Whitney test p = 0.004) than CTC+/AR-V7− samples. However, both CTC− (63%) and CTC+/AR-V7− (62%) patients had detectable AR-V7 protein in contemporaneous biopsies. After accounting for baseline characteristics, there was shorter OS in CTC+/AR-V7+ patients than in CTC− patients (hazard ratio [HR] 2.13; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–3.71; p = 0.02); surprisingly, there was no evidence that CTC+/AR-V7+ patients had worse OS than CTC+/AR-V7− patients (HR 1.26; 95% CI 0.73–2.17; p = 0.4). A limitation of this study was the heterogeneity of treatment received. Conclusions: Studies reporting the prognostic relevance of CTC AR-V7 status must account for CTC counts. Discordant CTC AR-V7 results and AR-V7 protein expression in matched, same-patient biopsies are reported. Patient summary: Liquid biopsies that determine circulating tumour cell androgen receptor splice variant-7 status have the potential to impact treatment decisions in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patients. Robust clinical qualification of these assays is required before their routine use.
- Androgen receptor
- Androgen receptor splice variant-7
- Liquid biopsy
- Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas