Background: There is an urgent need to identify biomarkers to guide personalized therapy in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). We aimed to clinically qualify androgen receptor (AR) gene status measurement in plasma DNA using multiplex droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) in pre- and post-chemotherapy CRPC. Methods: We optimized ddPCR assays for AR copy number and mutations and retrospectively analyzed plasma DNA from patients recruited to one of the three biomarker protocols with prospectively collected clinical data. We evaluated associations between plasma AR and overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in 73 chemotherapy-naïve and 98 postdocetaxel CRPC patients treated with enzalutamide or abiraterone (Primary cohort) and 94 chemotherapy-naïve patients treated with enzalutamide (Secondary cohort; PREMIERE trial). Results: In the primary cohort, AR gain was observed in 10 (14%) chemotherapy-naïve and 33 (34%) post-docetaxel patients and associated with worse OS [hazard ratio (HR), 3.98; 95% CI 1.74-9.10; P < 0.001 and HR 3.81; 95% CI 2.28-6.37; P < 0.001, respectively], PFS (HR 2.18; 95% CI 1.08-4.39; P=0.03, and HR 1.95; 95% CI 1.23-3.11; P=0.01, respectively) and rate of PSA decline ≥50% [odds ratio (OR), 4.7; 95% CI 1.17-19.17; P=0.035 and OR, 5.0; 95% CI 1.70-14.91; P=0.003, respectively]. ARmutations [2105T > A (p. L702H) and 2632A > G (p. T878A)] were observed in eight (11%) post-docetaxel but no chemotherapy-naïve abiraterone-treated patients and were also associated with worse OS (HR 3.26; 95% CI 1.47-not reached; P=0.004). There was no interaction between AR and docetaxel status (P=0.83 for OS, P=0.99 for PFS). In the PREMIERE trial, 11 patients (12%) with AR gain had worse PSA-PFS (sPFS) (HR 4.33; 95% CI 1.94-9.68; P < 0.001), radiographic-PFS (rPFS) (HR 8.06; 95% CI 3.26-19.93; P < 0.001) and OS (HR 11.08; 95% CI 2.16-56.95; P=0.004). Plasma AR was an independent predictor of outcome on multivariable analyses in both cohorts. Conclusion: Plasma AR status assessment using ddPCR identifies CRPC with worse outcome to enzalutamide or abiraterone. Prospective evaluation of treatment decisions based on plasma AR is now required.
- Androgen receptor
- Castration-resistant prostate cancer
- Plasma DNA
ASJC Scopus subject areas