In 2014, a landmark study was published demonstrating that the expression of androgen receptor splice variant (AR-V) 7 was a negative predictive biomarker for response to abiraterone acetate and enzalutamide in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients. However, these results were not supported by the recently reported ARMOR3-SV phase III clinical trial, which employed an identical circulating tumour cell assay to assess AR-V7 expression. Therefore, the predictive utility of AR-V7 expression in mCRPC remains uncertain, as does any potential association between other AR-Vs and treatment response. To further investigate, we designed a highly sensitive and specific whole blood assay for detecting AR-V7 and AR-V9. We then examined for a correlation between baseline AR-V7/V9 status and treatment outcome in 37 mCRPC patients commencing abiraterone or enzalutamide. Of the patients, 24% (9/37) were AR-V–positive. Notably, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) response rates did not significantly differ between AR-V–positive (6/9) and AR-V–negative (18/28) patients (66% vs 64%, p = 0.9). Likewise, median PSA progression-free survival was not significantly different between AR-V–positive and AR-V–negative patients (9.2 mo vs not reached; p = 0.9). These data, which support the findings of the pivotal ARMOR3-SV clinical trial, suggest that baseline AR-V expression does not predict outcomes in mCRPC patients receiving abiraterone or enzalutamide. Patient summary: Detection of androgen receptor splice variants (AR-Vs) in circulating tumour cells of advanced prostate cancer patients has been linked to resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide. We designed a blood test to detect AR-Vs that can be performed more routinely than tests involving circulating tumour cells and found that patients with AR-Vs still benefit from these effective treatments. We designed a whole blood assay for the detection of androgen receptor splice variant (AR-V) 7 and AR-V9. The presence of these AR-Vs does not predict for nonresponse to abiraterone and enzalutamide. Patients should not necessarily be excluded from such therapies if they express these AR-Vs.
- Androgen receptor splice variant
- Castration resistant
- Prostate cancer