Combined impact of lipidomic and genetic aberrations on clinical outcomes in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

Blossom Mak, Hui-Ming Lin, Edmond M. Kwan, Heidi Fettke, Ben Tran, Ian D. Davis, Kate Mahon, Martin R. Stockler, Karen Briscoe, Gavin Marx, Alison Zhang, Megan Crumbaker, Winston Tan, Kevin Huynh, Thomas G. Meikle, Natalie A. Mellett, Andrew J. Hoy, Pan Du, Jianjun Yu, Shidong JiaAnthony M. Joshua, David J. Waugh, Lisa M. Butler, Manish Kohli, Peter J. Meikle, Arun A. Azad, Lisa G. Horvath

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Background: Both changes in circulating lipids represented by a validated poor prognostic 3-lipid signature (3LS) and somatic tumour genetic aberrations are individually associated with worse clinical outcomes in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). A key question is how the lipid environment and the cancer genome are interrelated in order to exploit this therapeutically. We assessed the association between the poor prognostic 3-lipid signature (3LS), somatic genetic aberrations and clinical outcomes in mCRPC. Methods: We performed plasma lipidomic analysis and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) sequencing on 106 men with mCRPC commencing docetaxel, cabazitaxel, abiraterone or enzalutamide (discovery cohort) and 94 men with mCRPC commencing docetaxel (validation cohort). Differences in lipid levels between men ± somatic genetic aberrations were assessed with t-tests. Associations between the 3LS and genetic aberrations with overall survival (OS) were examined using Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazard models. Results: The 3LS was associated with shorter OS in the discovery (hazard ratio [HR] 2.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-3.3, p < 0.001) and validation cohorts (HR 2.32, 95% CI 1.59–3.38, p < 0.001). Elevated plasma sphingolipids were associated with AR, TP53, RB1 and PI3K aberrations (p < 0.05). Men with both the 3LS and aberrations in AR, TP53, RB1 or PI3K had shorter OS than men with neither in both cohorts (p ≤ 0.001). The presence of 3LS and/or genetic aberration was independently associated with shorter OS for men with AR, TP53, RB1 and PI3K aberrations (p < 0.02). Furthermore, aggressive-variant prostate cancer (AVPC), defined as 2 or more aberrations in TP53, RB1 and/or PTEN, was associated with elevated sphingolipids. The combination of AVPC and 3LS predicted for a median survival of ~12 months. The relatively small sample size of the cohorts limits clinical applicability and warrants future studies. Conclusions: Elevated circulating sphingolipids were associated with AR, TP53, RB1, PI3K and AVPC aberrations in mCRPC, and the combination of lipid and genetic abnormalities conferred a worse prognosis. These findings suggest that certain genotypes in mCRPC may benefit from metabolic therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Androgen receptor
  • Biomarker
  • Castration-resistant prostate cancer
  • Genomics
  • Lipid
  • PI3K
  • RB1
  • TP53

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