Research Papers:

Reduction in expression of the benign AR transcriptome is a hallmark of localised prostate cancer progression

Ryan Stuchbery _, Geoff Macintyre, Marek Cmero, Laurence M. Harewood, Justin S. Peters, Anthony J. Costello, Christopher M. Hovens and Niall M. Corcoran

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:31384-31392. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8915

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Ryan Stuchbery1,2,4, Geoff Macintyre3, Marek Cmero3, Laurence M. Harewood2,4, Justin S. Peters2,4, Anthony J. Costello1,2,4, Christopher M. Hovens1,2,4, Niall M. Corcoran1,2,4

1Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre Epworth, Richmond, VIC, Australia

2Department of Urology, Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

3NICTA Victoria Research Laboratory, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

4Department of Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Correspondence to:

Niall M. Corcoran, email: [email protected]

Keywords: prostate cancer, PSA screening, androgen signalling, prognostics

Received: October 18, 2015    Accepted: April 10, 2016    Published: April 22, 2016


Background: Despite the importance of androgen receptor (AR) signalling to prostate cancer development, little is known about how this signalling pathway changes with increasing grade and stage of the disease.

Objective: To explore changes in the normal AR transcriptome in localised prostate cancer, and its relation to adverse pathological features and disease recurrence.

Design: Publically accessible human prostate cancer expression arrays as well as RNA sequencing data from the prostate TCGA. Tumour associated PSA and PSAD were calculated for a large cohort of men (n=1108) undergoing prostatectomy.

Outcome Measurements and Statistical Analysis: We performed a meta-analysis of the expression of an androgen-regulated gene set across datasets using Oncomine. Differential expression of selected genes in the prostate TCGA database was probed using the edgeR Bioconductor package. Changes in tumour PSA density with stage and grade were assessed by Student’s t-test, and its association with biochemical recurrence explored by Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression.

Results: Meta-analysis revealed a systematic decline in the expression of a previously identified benign prostate androgen-regulated gene set with increasing tumour grade, reaching significance in nine of 25 genes tested despite increasing AR expression. These results were confirmed in a large independent dataset from the TCGA. At the protein level, when serum PSA was corrected for tumour volume, significantly lower levels were observed with increasing tumour grade and stage, and predicted disease recurrence.

Conclusions: Lower PSA secretion-per-tumour-volume is associated with increasing grade and stage of prostate cancer, has prognostic relevance, and reflects a systematic perturbation of androgen signalling.

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