Prostate cancer androgen biosynthesis relies solely on CYP17A1 downstream metabolites

Gido Snaterse, Angela E. Taylor, J. Matthijs Moll, Donna M. O'Neil, Wilma J. Teubel, Wytske M. van Weerden, Wiebke Arlt, Johannes Hofland*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Prostate cancer (PC) is dependent on androgen receptor (AR) activation by testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Intratumoral androgen accumulation and activation despite systemic androgen deprivation therapy underlies the development of castration-resistant PC (CRPC), but the precise pathways involved remain controversial. Here we investigated the differential contributions of de novo androgen biosynthesis and androgen precursor conversion to androgen accumulation. Steroid flux analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was performed on (CR)PC cell lines and fresh patient PC tissue slices after incubation with classic and alternative biosynthesis intermediates, alongside quantitative PCR analysis for steroidogenic enzyme expression. Activity of CYP17A1 was undetectable in all PC cell lines and patient PC tissue slices. Instead, steroid flux analysis confirmed the generation of testosterone and DHT from adrenal precursors and reactivation of androgen metabolites. Precursor steroids upstream of DHEA were converted down the first steps of the alternative DHT biosynthesis pathway, but did not proceed through to active androgen generation. Comprehensive steroid flux analysis of (CR)PC cells provides strong evidence against intratumoral de novo androgen biosynthesis and demonstrates that androgen precursor steroids downstream of CYP17A1 activities constitute the major source of intracrine androgen generation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106446
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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