Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 207-217

First online:

The Link Between Androgen Receptor Splice Variants and Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

  • Cynthia C. T. SprengerAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, University of WashingtonUniversity of Washington Email author 
  • , Stephen R. PlymateAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, University of WashingtonVA Puget Sound Health Care System


Resistance to the latest advanced prostate cancer therapies, including abiraterone and enzalutamide, is associated with increased expression of constitutively active androgen receptor splice variants (AR-Vs). The exact mechanism by which these therapies result in AR-Vs is unknown, but may include genomic rearrangement of the androgen receptor gene as well as alternative splicing of the AR pre-messenger RNA (mRNA). An additional complication that hinders further development of effective AR strategies is that the mechanisms by which the directed therapies are bypassed may vary. Finally, the question must be addressed as to whether the androgen receptor remains to be the driver of most castration resistant disease or whether truly AR-independent tumors arise after successful androgen ablation therapy. In this review, we will examine androgen receptor splice variants as an alternative mechanism by which prostate cancer becomes resistant to androgen receptor-directed therapy.