Nascent Prostate Cancer Heterogeneity Drives Evolution and Resistance to Intense Hormonal Therapy

Scott Wilkinson, Huihui Ye, Fatima Karzai, Stephanie A. Harmon, Nicholas T. Terrigino, David J. VanderWeele, John R. Bright, Rayann Atway, Shana Y. Trostel, Nicole V. Carrabba, Nichelle C. Whitlock, Stephanie M. Walker, Rosina T. Lis, Houssein Abdul Sater, Brian J. Capaldo, Ravi A. Madan, James L. Gulley, Guinevere Chun, Maria J. Merino, Peter A. PintoDaniela C. Salles, Harsimar B. Kaur, Tamara L. Lotan, David J. Venzon, Peter L. Choyke, Baris Turkbey, William L. Dahut, Adam G. Sowalsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients diagnosed with high risk localized prostate cancer have variable outcomes following surgery. Trials of intense neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (NADT) have shown lower rates of recurrence among patients with minimal residual disease after treatment. The molecular features that distinguish exceptional responders from poor responders are not known. Objective: To identify genomic and histologic features associated with treatment resistance at baseline. Design, setting, and participants: Targeted biopsies were obtained from 37 men with intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer before receiving 6 mo of ADT plus enzalutamide. Biopsy tissues were used for whole-exome sequencing and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: We assessed the relationship of molecular features with final pathologic response using a cutpoint of 0.05 cm3 for residual cancer burden to compare exceptional responders to incomplete and nonresponders. We assessed intratumoral heterogeneity at the tissue and genomic level, and compared the volume of residual disease to the Shannon diversity index for each tumor. We generated multivariate models of resistance based on three molecular features and one histologic feature, with and without multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging estimates of baseline tumor volume. Results and limitations: Loss of chromosome 10q (containing PTEN) and alterations to TP53 were predictive of poor response, as were the expression of nuclear ERG on IHC and the presence of intraductal carcinoma of the prostate. Patients with incompletely and nonresponding tumors harbored greater tumor diversity as estimated via phylogenetic tree reconstruction from DNA sequencing and analysis of IHC staining. Our four-factor binary model (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] 0.89) to predict poor response correlated with greater diversity in our cohort and a validation cohort of 57 Gleason score 8–10 prostate cancers from The Cancer Genome Atlas. When baseline tumor volume was added to the model, it distinguished poor response to NADT with an AUC of 0.98. Prospective use of this model requires further retrospective validation with biopsies from additional trials. Conclusions: A subset of prostate cancers exhibit greater histologic and genomic diversity at the time of diagnosis, and these localized tumors have greater fitness to resist therapy. Patient summary: Some prostate cancer tumors do not respond well to a hormonal treatment called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). We used tumor volume and four other parameters to develop a model to identify tumors that will not respond well to ADT. Treatments other than ADT should be considered for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-757
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Diversity
  • Enzalutamide
  • Evolution
  • Genomics
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neoadjuvant
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nascent Prostate Cancer Heterogeneity Drives Evolution and Resistance to Intense Hormonal Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this