Prostate epithelial genes define therapy-relevant prostate cancer molecular subtype

Hyunho Han, Hyung Ho Lee, Kwibok Choi, Young Jun Moon, Ji Eun Heo, Won Sik Ham, Won Sik Jang, Koon Ho Rha, Nam Hoon Cho, Filippo G. Giancotti, Young Deuk Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: Transcriptomic landscape of prostate cancer (PCa) shows multidimensional variability, potentially arising from the cell-of-origin, reflected in serum markers, and most importantly related to drug sensitivities. For example, Aggressive Variant Prostate Cancer (AVPC) presents low PSA per tumor burden, and characterized by de novo resistance to androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARIs). Understanding PCa transcriptomic complexity can provide biological insight and therapeutic guidance. However, unsupervised clustering analysis is hindered by potential confounding factors such as stromal contamination and stress-related material degradation. Materials and methods: To focus on prostate epithelial cell-relevant heterogeneity, we defined 1,629 genes expressed by prostate epithelial cells by analyzing publicly available bulk and single- cell RNA sequencing data. Consensus clustering and CIBERSORT deconvolution were used for class discovery and proportion estimate analysis. The Cancer Genome Atlas Prostate Adenocarcinoma dataset served as a training set. The resulting clusters were analyzed in association with clinical, pathologic, and genomic characteristics and impact on survival. Serum markers PSA and PAP was analyzed to predict response to docetaxel chemotherapy in metastatic setting. Results: We identified two luminal subtypes and two aggressive variant subtypes of PCa: luminal A (Adipogenic/AR-active/PSA-high) (30.0%); luminal S (Secretory/PAP-high) (26.0%); AVPC-I (Immune-infiltrative) (14.7%), AVPC-M (Myc-active) (4.2%), and mixed (25.0%). AVPC-I and AVPC-M subtypes predicted to be resistant to ARI and have low PSA per tumor burden. Luminal A and AVPC-M predicted to be resistant to docetaxel and have high PSA/PAP Ratio. Metastatic PCa patients with high PSA/PAP ratio (>20) had significantly shorter progression-free survival than those with low ratio (≤20) following docetaxel chemotherapy. Conclusion: We propose four prostate adenocarcinoma subtypes with distinct transcriptomic, genomic, and pathologic characteristics. PSA/PAP ratio in advanced cancer may aid in determining which patients would benefit from maximized androgen receptor inhibition or early use of antimicrotubule agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1092
Number of pages13
JournalProstate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Urology
  • Cancer Research


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