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Targeting a splicing-mediated drug resistance mechanism in prostate cancer by inhibiting transcriptional regulation by PKCβ1.


The androgen receptor (AR) is a central driver of aggressive prostate cancer. After initial treatment with androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSi), reactivation of AR signaling leads to resistance. Alternative splicing of AR mRNA yields the AR-V7 splice variant, which is currently an undruggable mechanism of ARSi resistance: AR-V7 lacks a ligand binding domain, where hormones and anti-androgen antagonists act, but still activates AR signaling. We reveal PKCβ as a druggable regulator of transcription and splicing at the AR genomic locus. We identify a clinical PKCβ inhibitor in combination with an FDA-approved anti-androgen as an approach for repressing AR genomic locus expression, including expression of AR-V7, while antagonizing full-length AR. PKCβ inhibition reduces total AR gene expression, thus reducing AR-V7 protein levels and sensitizing prostate cancer cells to current anti-androgen therapies. We demonstrate that this combination may be a viable therapeutic strategy for AR-V7-positive prostate cancer.

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