TitleAn androgen receptor regulated gene score is associated with epithelial to mesenchymal transition features in triple negative breast cancers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsRajarajan S, Snijesh VP, Anupama CE, Nair MG, Mavatkar AD, Naidu CM, Patil S, Nimbalkar VP, Alexander A, Pillai M, Jolly MKumar, Sabarinathan R, Ramesh RS, Bs S, Prabhu JS
JournalTransl Oncol
Date Published2023 Aug 19

BACKGROUND: Androgen receptor (AR) is considered a marker of better prognosis in hormone receptor positive breast cancers (BC), however, its role in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is controversial. This may be attributed to intrinsic molecular differences or scoring methods for AR positivity. We derived AR regulated gene score and examined its utility in BC subtypes.

METHODS: AR regulated genes were derived by applying a bioinformatic pipeline on publicly available microarray data sets of AR+ BC cell lines and gene score was calculated as average expression of six AR regulated genes. Tumors were divided into AR high and low based on gene score and associations with clinical parameters, circulating androgens, survival and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers were examined, further evaluated in invitro models and public datasets.

RESULTS: 53% (133/249) tumors were classified as AR gene score high and were associated with significantly better clinical parameters, disease-free survival (86.13 vs 72.69 months, log rank p = 0.032) when compared to AR low tumors. 36% of TNBC (N = 66) were AR gene score high with higher expression of EMT markers (p = 0.024) and had high intratumoral levels of 5α-reductase, enzyme involved in intracrine androgen metabolism. In MDA-MB-453 treated with dihydrotestosterone, SLUG expression increased, E-cadherin decreased with increase in migration and these changes were reversed with bicalutamide. Similar results were obtained in public datasets.

CONCLUSION: Deciphering the role of AR in BC is difficult based on AR protein levels alone. Our results support the context dependent function of AR in driving better prognosis in ER positive tumors and EMT features in TNBC tumors.

Alternate JournalTransl Oncol
PubMed ID37603927