Platinum Priority – Prostate Cancer Editorial by Megan Crumbaker, Richard Savdie and Anthony M. Joshua on pp. 736–737 of this issue| Volume 73, ISSUE 5, P727-735, May 01, 2018

Novel Junction-specific and Quantifiable In Situ Detection of AR-V7 and its Clinical Correlates in Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer



      Androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) has been implicated in resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide treatment in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Tissue- or cell-based in situ detection of AR-V7, however, has been limited by lack of specificity.


      To address current limitations in precision measurement of AR-V7 by developing a novel junction-specific AR-V7 RNA in situ hybridization (RISH) assay compatible with automated quantification.

      Design, setting, and participants

      We designed a RISH method to visualize single splice junctions in cells and tissue. Using the validated assay for junction-specific detection of the full-length AR (AR-FL) and AR-V7, we generated quantitative data, blinded to clinical data, for 63 prostate tumor biopsies.

      Outcome measurements and statistical analysis

      We evaluated clinical correlates of AR-FL/AR-V7 measurements, including association with prostate-specific antigen progression-free survival (PSA-PFS) and clinical and radiographic progression-free survival (PFS), in a subset of patients starting treatment with abiraterone or enzalutamide following biopsy.

      Results and limitations

      Quantitative AR-FL/AR-V7 data were generated from 56 of the 63 (88.9%) biopsy specimens examined, of which 44 were mCRPC biopsies. Positive AR-V7 signals were detected in 34.1% (15/44) mCRPC specimens, all of which also co-expressed AR-FL. The median AR-V7/AR-FL ratio was 11.9% (range 2.7–30.3%). Positive detection of AR-V7 was correlated with indicators of high disease burden at baseline. Among the 25 CRPC biopsies collected before treatment with abiraterone or enzalutamide, positive AR-V7 detection, but not higher AR-FL, was significantly associated with shorter PSA-PFS (hazard ratio 2.789, 95% confidence interval 1.12–6.95; p = 0.0081).


      We report for the first time a RISH method for highly specific and quantifiable detection of splice junctions, allowing further characterization of AR-V7 and its clinical significance.

      Patient summary

      Higher AR-V7 levels detected and quantified using a novel method were associated with poorer response to abiraterone or enzalutamide in prostate cancer.


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