Androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) promotes the bladder cancer nuclear AR-negative cell invasion via a newly identified membrane androgen receptor (mAR-SLC39A9)-mediated Gαi protein/MAPK/MMP9 intracellular signaling.Oncogene 2019O
While androgens may function via nuclear androgen receptor (nAR) to increase bladder cancer (BCa) progression, the impact of androgens on muscle invasive BCa, which contains nearly 80% nAR-negative cells, remains unclear. To dissect the androgens potential impacts on these nAR-negative muscle invasive BCa, we first found that the androgens, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) might function via a novel membrane AR (mAR-SLC39A9) to increase nAR-negative BCa cell migration and invasion. Mechanism dissection revealed that DHT/mAR-SLC39A9 might function by altering Gαi protein-mediated MAPK/MMP9 intracellular signaling to increase nAR-negative BCa cell migration and invasion. Preclinical studies using multiple in vitro nAR-negative BCa cell lines and an in vivo mouse model all demonstrated that targeting this newly identified DHT/mAR-SLC39A9/Gαi/MAPK/MMP9 signaling with small molecules mAR-SLC39A9-shRNA or Gαi-shRNA, and not the classic antiandrogens including enzalutamide, bicalutamide, or hydroxyflutamide, could suppress nAR-negative BCa cell invasion. Results from human clinical samples surveys also indicated the positive correlation of this newly identified DHT/mAR signaling with BCa progression and prognosis. Together, these results suggest that androgens may not only function via the classic nAR to increase the nAR-positive BCa cell invasion, they may also function via this newly identified mAR-SLC39A9 to increase the nAR-negative/mAR-positive BCa cell invasion.