Research Papers:

Phosphorylation of androgen receptors at serine 515 is a potential prognostic marker for triple negative breast cancer

Antonia K. Roseweir _, Pamela McCall, Alison Scott, Benjamin Liew, Zhi Lim, Elizabeth A. Mallon and Joanne Edwards

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:37172-37185. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16420

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Antonia K. Roseweir1,2, Pamela McCall1, Alison Scott1, Benjamin Liew1, Zhi Lim1, Elizabeth A. Mallon3, Joanne Edwards1

1Unit of Experimental Therapeutics, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, Garscube Estate, Glasgow, United Kingdom

2Academic Unit of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, United Kingdom

3Department of Pathology, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Correspondence to:

Antonia K. Roseweir, email: [email protected]

Keywords: androgen receptor, phosphorylation, MAPK, breast cancer, triple negative

Received: October 29, 2016     Accepted: March 10, 2017     Published: March 21, 2017


1.7 million cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year with 522,000 deaths. Molecular classifications of breast cancer have resulted in improved treatments. However, treatments for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are lacking. Analysis of molecular targets for TNBC is a priority. One potential candidate is androgen receptor (AR) phosphorylation. This study assessed the role of AR phosphorylation at ser81/ser515 and their two upstream effectors, cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (pCDK1) and extracellular-regulated kinase 1/2 (pERK1/2) in 332 ductal breast cancer patients by immunohistochemistry.

pERK1/2 combined with AR-515 associated with improved cancer-specific survival (CSS, p = 0.038), decreased size (p = 0.001), invasive grade (p < 0.001), necrosis (p = 0.003), b-lymphocytes (p = 0.020), molecular subtype (p < 0.001) and estrogen receptor (ER)/progesterone receptor (PR)-status (p < 0.001). The cohort was therefore stratified into ER+ve and ER-ve patients. In ER+ve tumours, pERK1/2 combined with AR-515 associated with improved CSS (p = 0.038), smaller size (p = 0.004), invasive grade (p = 0.001), decreased b-lymphocytes (p = 0.013) and increased plasma cells (p = 0.048). In contrast, in TNBC patients, phosphorylation of AR-515 associated with poorer CSS (p = 0.007). pERK1/2 combined with AR-515 associated with decreased inflammation (p = 0.003), increased tumour stroma (p = 0.003) and tumour budding (p = 0.011), with trends towards decrease CSS (p = 0.065) and macrophage levels (p = 0.093).

In Conclusions, AR-515 may be an important regulator of inflammation in breast cancer potential via ERK1/2 phosphorylation. AR-515 is a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target for TNBC.

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