Xenoestrogen action in prostate cancer: Pleiotropic effects dependent on androgen receptor status

Yelena B. Wetherill, Nicola L. Fisher, Ann Staubach, Mark Danielsen, Ralph W. De Vere White, Karen E. Knudsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Androgen is critical for prostate development, growth, and survival. Therapies for advanced prostate cancer aim to block androgen receptor (AR) action. However, recurrent tumors ultimately arise, which harbor restored AR activity. One mechanism of such reactivation occurs through AR mutations, rendering the receptor responsive to noncanonical ligands. We have shown previously that a known xenoestrogen, bisphenol A (BPA), activates a tumor-derived AR mutant (T877A), leading to androgen-independent prostate cancer cell proliferation. Here, we show that BPA cooperates with androgen to activate AR-T877A as shown by both reporter assays and increased levels of prostate-specific antigen expression. Further investigations using both yeast and mammalian model systems revealed that multiple AR alleles are responsive to BPA, thus expanding the potential influence of xenoestrogens on prostate cancer. Moreover, in vitro radioligand binding assay revealed that BPA alters 5α-dihydrotestosterone binding to AR-T877A likely through noncompetitive inhibition. We also show that higher concentrations of BPA block proliferation of AR-positive, androgen-dependent prostate adenocarcinoma cells (LNCaP and LAPC-4), with a more modest inhibitory effect on androgen-independent cells (22Rv-1). By contrast, AR-negative prostate cancer cells failed to show growth inhibition after exposure to high BPA dose. Together, these data show that BPA can serve as a potential "hormone sensitizer" of the mutant ARs present in advanced prostate adenocarcinomas, thereby possibly contributing toward therapeutic relapse in advanced prostate cancer patients and supporting the notion that nonsteroidal environmental compounds can alter the function of nuclear receptor complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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