Targeting cellular heterogeneity with CXCR2 blockade for the treatment of therapy-resistant prostate cancer

Yanjing Li, Yiping He, William Butler, Lingfan Xu, Yan Chang, Kefeng Lei, Hong Zhang, Yinglu Zhou, Allen C. Gao, Qingfu Zhang, Daniel G. Taylor, Donghui Cheng, Suzette Farber-Katz, Rachid Karam, Tyler Landrith, Bing Li, Sitao Wu, Vickie Hsuan, Qing Yang, Hailiang HuXufeng Chen, Melissa Flowers, Shannon J. McCall, John K. Lee, Bryan A. Smith, Jung Wook Park, Andrew S. Goldstein, Owen N. Witte, Qianben Wang, Matthew B. Rettig, Andrew J. Armstrong, Qing Cheng, Jiaoti Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Hormonal therapy targeting androgen receptor (AR) is initially effective to treat prostate cancer (PCa), but it eventually fails. It has been hypothesized that cellular heterogeneity of PCa, consisting of AR+ luminal tumor cells and AR neuroendocrine (NE) tumor cells, may contribute to therapy failure. Here, we describe the successful purification of NE cells from primary fresh human prostate adenocarcinoma based on the cell surface receptor C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 2 (CXCR2). Functional studies revealed CXCR2 to be a driver of the NE phenotype, including loss of AR expression, lineage plasticity, and resistance to hormonal therapy. CXCR2-driven NE cells were critical for the tumor microenvironment by providing a survival niche for the AR+ luminal cells. We demonstrate that the combination of CXCR2 inhibition and AR targeting is an effective treatment strategy in mouse xenograft models. Such a strategy has the potential to overcome therapy resistance caused by tumor cell heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaax0428
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number521
StatePublished - Dec 4 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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