Background: Resistance to androgen receptor signalling inhibitors (ARSIs) represents a major clinical challenge in prostate cancer. We previously demonstrated that the ARSI enzalutamide inhibits only a subset of all AR-regulated genes, and hypothesise that the unaffected gene networks represent potential targets for therapeutic intervention. This study identified the hyaluronan-mediated motility receptor (HMMR) as a survival factor in prostate cancer and investigated its potential as a co-target for overcoming resistance to ARSIs.
Methods: RNA-seq, RT-qPCR and Western Blot were used to evaluate the regulation of HMMR by AR and ARSIs. HMMR inhibition was achieved via siRNA knockdown or pharmacological inhibition using 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU) in prostate cancer cell lines, a mouse xenograft model and patient-derived explants (PDEs).
Results: HMMR was an AR-regulated factor that was unaffected by ARSIs. Genetic (siRNA) or pharmacological (4-MU) inhibition of HMMR significantly suppressed growth and induced apoptosis in hormone-sensitive and enzalutamide-resistant models of prostate cancer. Mechanistically, 4-MU inhibited AR nuclear translocation, AR protein expression and subsequent downstream AR signalling. 4-MU enhanced the growth-suppressive effects of 3 different ARSIs in vitro and, in combination with enzalutamide, restricted proliferation of prostate cancer cells in vivo and in PDEs.
Conclusion: Co-targeting HMMR and AR represents an effective strategy for improving response to ARSIs.
- Prostate cancer
- Translational research