Hormones and Cancer

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 82–94 | Cite as

Harnessing a Different Dependency: How to Identify and Target Androgen Receptor-Positive Versus Quadruple-Negative Breast Cancer

  • Jessica L. Christenson
  • Jane B. Trepel
  • Haythem Y. Ali
  • Sunmin Lee
  • Joel R. Eisner
  • Edwina S. Baskin-Bey
  • Anthony D. Elias
  • Jennifer K. Richer


The androgen receptor (AR) is a promising therapeutic target for a subset of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) in which AR is expressed. However, the mechanistic action of AR and the degree to which primary and metastatic tumors depend on AR, both before and after conventional treatment, remain to be defined. We discuss preclinical and clinical data for AR+ TNBC, the difficulties in monitoring AR protein levels, new methods for determining AR status, the influence of AR on “stemness” in the context of TNBC, the role of combined inhibition of sex steroid production and AR, and the role of AR in regulation of the immune system. Although the exact role of AR in subsets of TNBC is still being characterized, new therapies that target AR and the production of androgens may provide additional options for patients with TNBC for whom chemotherapy is currently the sole treatment option.



The authors thank Elise Eller, PhD, and Kelly Kilibarda, PhD, of Whitsell Innovations, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC, USA, for providing medical writing support, which was funded by Innocrin Pharmaceuticals Inc., Durham, North Carolina, USA, in accordance with Good Publication Practice (GPP3) guidelines ( We also acknowledge Beatrice Babbs in the Richer Laboratory at the University of Colorado for immunohistochemistry.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

JRE and ESBB declare that they are employed by and have stock ownership in Innocrin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All other authors declare that they have no potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cancer ResearchNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Henry Ford Medical GroupBrownstownUSA
  4. 4.Innocrin Pharmaceuticals Inc.DurhamUSA
  5. 5.Department of MedicineUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical CampusAuroraUSA

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