Underlying mechanisms for resistance to cisplatin-based chemotherapy in bladder cancer patients are largely unknown, although androgen receptor (AR) activity, as well as extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling, has been indicated to correlate with chemosensitivity. We also previously showed ERK activation by androgen treatment in AR-positive bladder cancer cells. Because our DNA microarray analysis in control vs. AR-knockdown bladder cancer lines identified BXDC2 as a potential downstream target of AR, we herein assessed its functional role in cisplatin sensitivity, using bladder cancer lines and surgical specimens. BXDC2 protein expression was consid-erably downregulated in AR-positive or cisplatin-resistant cells. BXDC2-knockdown sublines were significantly more resistant to cisplatin, compared with respective controls. Without cisplatin treat-ment, BXDC2-knockdown resulted in significant increases/decreases in cell proliferation/apoptosis, respectively. An ERK activator was also found to reduce BXDC2 expression. Immunohistochemistry showed downregulation of BXDC2 expression in tumor (vs. non-neoplastic urothelium), higher grade/stage tumor (vs. lower grade/stage), and AR-positive tumor (vs. AR-negative). Patients with BXDC2-positive/AR-negative muscle-invasive bladder cancer had a significantly lower risk of disease-specific mortality, compared to those with a BXDC2-negative/AR-positive tumor. Addi-tionally, in those undergoing cisplatin-based chemotherapy, BXDC2 positivity alone (p = 0.083) or together with AR negativity (p = 0.047) was associated with favorable response. We identified BXDC2 as a key molecule in enhancing cisplatin sensitivity. AR-ERK activation may thus be associated with chemoresistance via downregulating BXDC2 expression in bladder cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research