Androgen receptor: A potential therapeutic target for glioblastoma

Nomi Zalcman, Tamar Canello, Haim Ovadia, Hanna Charbit, Bracha Zelikovitch, Anat Mordechai, Yakov Fellig, Stav Rabani, Tal Shahar, Alexander Lossos, Iris Lavon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The median survival time of patients with glioblastoma is still poor (14.6 month), partly due to a lack of effective treatment. We have observed that androgen receptor (AR) is amplified in glioblastomas at the DNA, RNA and protein levels. The AR gene was amplified in 27% of glioblastoma specimens from men (n=22) and of 38.2% from women (n=21). AR-RNA was overexpressed ( > 2.5 fold) in 93% (n=30), and AR-protein was induced ( > two fold) in 56% of the glioblastomas samples (n=16). Thirty percent of the glioblastomas (n=21) also expressed a constitutively active AR-splice-variant (AR-V7/AR3) lacking the Ligand-Binding-Domain. Following these findings, we examined the effect of pharmacological inhibition of androgen receptor in vitro and in vivo, as well as of genetic silencing of the receptor in glioblastoma cell lines. AR antagonists, induced concentration-dependent death in three glioblastoma cell lines, as well as in two glioma initiating cell lines. Silencing of AR expression by siRNA induced cell death in the three tested glioblastoma cell lines. Enzalutamide given orally to nude mice bearing subcutaneous human glioma xenografts resulted in a 72% reduction in tumor volume (p=0.0027). The presence of AR-V7/AR3 in glioblastoma, together with the present data showing that genetic silencing of the full length AR in cell lines and pharmacological inhibition of AR, induce GBM cell death in vivo and in vitro, point to the important role of AR in GBM survival and render a potential therapeutic target for this devastating disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19980-19993
Number of pages14
Issue number28
StatePublished - 13 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • AR antagonist
  • AR variant 7 (AR3)
  • Androgen receptor (AR)
  • Glioblastoma (GBM)
  • Gliomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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