Depletion of androgen receptor low molecular weight isoform reduces bladder tumor cell viability and induces apoptosis

Kimberley Katleba, Alan P. Lombard, Maria Malvina Tsamouri, Han Bit Baek, Kristine S. Nishida, Stephen J. Libertini, Alexander J. Platero, Ai Hong Ma, Chong xian Pan, Paramita M. Ghosh, Maria Mudryj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bladder cancer (BlCa) exhibits a gender disparity where men are three times more likely to develop the malignancy than women suggesting a role for the androgen receptor (AR). Here we report that BlCa cells express low molecular weight (LMW) AR isoforms that are missing the ligand binding domain (LBD). Isoform expression was detected in most BlCa cells, while a few express the full-length AR. Immunofluorescence studies detect AR in the nucleus and cytoplasm, and localization is cell dependent. Cells with nuclear AR expression exhibit reduced viability and increased apoptosis on total AR depletion. A novel AR-LMW variant, AR-v19, that is missing the LBD and contains 15 additional amino acids encoded by intron 3 sequences was detected in most BlCa malignancies. AR-v19 localizes to the nucleus and can transactivate AR-dependent transcription in a dose dependent manner. AR-v19 depletion impairs cell viability and promotes apoptosis in cells that express this variant. Thus, AR splice variant expression is common in BlCa and instrumental in ensuring cell survival. This suggests that targeting AR or AR downstream effectors may be a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of this malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
StatePublished - Apr 28 2021


  • Androgen receptor
  • Apoptosis
  • Bladder cancer
  • Isoforms
  • Splice variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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