Education & Certifications
Bachelor of Science, Wake Forest University (2014)
Master of Science, Johns Hopkins University (2015)
Androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) results in a truncated receptor, which leads to ligand-independent constitutive activation that is not inhibited by anti-androgen therapies, including abiraterone or enzalutamide. Given that previous reports suggested that circulating tumor cell (CTC) AR-V7 detection is a poor prognostic indicator for the clinical efficacy of secondary hormone therapies, we conducted a prospective multicenter validation study.PROPHECY ( ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02269982) is a multicenter, prospective-blinded study of men with high-risk mCRPC starting abiraterone acetate or enzalutamide treatment. The primary objective was to validate the prognostic significance of baseline CTC AR-V7 on the basis of radiographic or clinical progression free-survival (PFS) by using the Johns Hopkins University modified-AdnaTest CTC AR-V7 mRNA assay and the Epic Sciences CTC nuclear-specific AR-V7 protein assay. Overall survival (OS) and prostate-specific antigen responses were secondary end points.We enrolled 118 men with mCRPC who were starting abiraterone or enzalutamide treatment. AR-V7 detection by both the Johns Hopkins and Epic AR-V7 assays was independently associated with shorter PFS (hazard ratio, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.1 to 3.3; P = .032] and 2.4 [95% CI, 1.1 to 5.1; P = .020], respectively) and OS (hazard ratio, 4.2 [95% CI, 2.1 to 8.5] and 3.5 [95% CI, 1.6 to 8.1], respectively) after adjusting for CTC number and clinical prognostic factors. Men with AR-V7-positive mCRPC had fewer confirmed prostate-specific antigen responses (0% to 11%) or soft tissue responses (0% to 6%). The observed percentage agreement between the two AR-V7 assays was 82%.Detection of AR-V7 in CTCs by two blood-based assays is independently associated with shorter PFS and OS with abiraterone or enzalutamide, and such men with mCRPC should be offered alternative treatments.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.18.01731
View details for PubMedID 30865549
Germline mutations in genes mediating DNA repair are common in men with recurrent and advanced prostate cancer, and their presence may alter prognosis and management. We aimed to define pathological and clinical characteristics associated with germline DNA-repair gene mutations, to facilitate selection of patients for germline testing.We retrospectively evaluated 150 unselected patients with recurrent or metastatic prostate cancer who were offered germline genetic testing by a single oncologist using a clinical-grade assay (Color Genomics). This platform utilizes next-generation sequencing from saliva to interrogate 30 cancer-susceptibility genes. Presence or absence of a deleterious germline mutation was correlated with histological and clinical characteristics, and with family history of cancer. All patients with DNA-sequence alterations (pathogenic or variants) were offered genetic counseling.Between July 2016 and July 2017, 150 consecutive patients underwent germline testing; pathogenic mutations were identified in 21 men (14%). Among those with germline mutations, 9 (43%) were in BRCA2, 3 (14%) were in ATM, 3 (14%) were in CHEK2, and 2 (9%) were in BRCA1. While there were no associations between germline mutations and age, tumor stage, Gleason sum or family history; mutation-positive patients had lower median PSA levels at diagnosis (5.5 vs 8.6 ng/mL, P = 0.01) and unique pathologic features. Namely, men with germline mutations were more likely to harbor intraductal/ductal histology (48% vs 12%, P < 0.01) and lymphovascular invasion (52% vs 14%, P < 0.01). Finally, 44% of patients with a positive germline test would not have been offered genetic screening according to current National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.Presence of intraductal/ductal histology and lymphovascular invasion appear to be associated with pathogenic germline DNA-repair gene mutations in men with prostate cancer, and identification of these features may help to select patients for germline testing. NCCN guidelines may be inadequate in predicting which prostate cancer patients should undergo genetic screening.
View details for DOI 10.1002/pros.23484
View details for PubMedID 29368341
AR-V7-expressing metastatic prostate cancer is an aggressive phenotype with poor progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Preliminary evidence suggests that AR-V7-positive tumors may be enriched for DNA-repair defects, perhaps rendering them more sensitive to immune-checkpoint blockade. We enrolled 15 metastatic prostate cancer patients with AR-V7-expressing circulating tumor cells into a prospective phase-2 trial. Patients received nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four doses, then maintenance nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Targeted next-generation sequencing was performed to determine DNA-repair deficiency (DRD) status. Outcomes included PSA response rates, objective response rates (ORR), PSA progression-free survival (PSA-PFS), clinical/radiographic PFS and OS. Median age of participants was 65, median PSA was 115 ng/mL, 67% had visceral metastases, and 60% had ≥4 prior systemic therapies. Six of 15 men (40%) had DRD mutations (three in BRCA2, two in ATM, one in ERCC4; none had microsatellite instability). Overall, the PSA response rate was 2/15 (13%), ORR was 2/8 (25%) in those with measurable disease, median PSA-PFS was 3.0 (95%CI 2.1-NR) months, PFS was 3.7 (95%CI 2.8-7.5) months, and OS was 8.2 (95%CI 5.5-10.4) months. Outcomes appeared generally better in DRD+ vs. DRD- tumors with respect to PSA responses (33% vs. 0%; P=0.14, nonsignificant), ORR (40% vs. 0%; P=0.46, nonsignificant), PSA-PFS (HR 0.19; P<0.01, significant), PFS (HR 0.31; P=0.01, significant), and OS (HR 0.41; P=0.11, nonsignificant). There were no new safety concerns. Ipilimumab plus nivolumab demonstrated encouraging efficacy in AR-V7-positive prostate cancers with DRD mutations, but not in the overall study population.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.25564
View details for PubMedID 29983880
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6033362
Prostate cancer that progresses after enzalutamide treatment is poorly responsive to further antiandrogen therapy, and paradoxically, rapid cycling between high and low serum testosterone concentrations (bipolar androgen therapy [BAT]) in this setting might induce tumour responses. We aimed to evaluate BAT in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that progressed after enzalutamide.We did this single-centre, open-label, phase 2, multicohort study in the USA. We included patients aged 18 years or older who had histologically confirmed and radiographically documented metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, with no more than two previous second-line hormonal therapies, and a castrate concentration of testosterone. Patients were asymptomatic, with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-2, and did not have high-risk lesions for tumour flare (eg, >5 sites of visceral disease or bone lesions with impending fracture). For the cohort reported here, we required patients to have had progression on enzalutamide with a continued prostate-specific antigen (PSA) rise after enzalutamide treatment discontinuation. Patients received BAT, which consisted of intramuscular testosterone cipionate 400 mg every 28 days until progression and continued luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist therapy. Upon progression after BAT, men were rechallenged with oral enzalutamide 160 mg daily. The co-primary endpoints were investigator-assessed 50% decline in PSA concentration from baseline (PSA50) for BAT (for all patients who received at least one dose) and for enzalutamide rechallenge (based on intention-to-treat analysis). These data represent the final analysis for the post-enzalutamide cohort, while two additional cohorts (post-abiraterone and newly castration-resistant prostate cancer) are ongoing. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02090114.Between Aug 28, 2014, and May 18, 2016, we accrued 30 eligible patients and treated them with BAT. Nine (30%; 95% CI 15-49; p<0·0001) of 30 patients achieved a PSA50 to BAT. 29 patients completed BAT and 21 proceeded to enzalutamide rechallenge, of whom 15 (52%; 95% CI 33-71; p<0·0001) achieved a PSA50 response. During BAT, the only grade 3-4 adverse event occurring in more than one patient was hypertension (three [10%] patients). Other grade 3 or worse adverse events occurring during BAT in one [3%] patient each were pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, urinary obstruction, gallstone, and sepsis. During enzalutamide retreatment, no grade 3-4 toxicities occurred in more than one patient. No treatment-related deaths were reported during either BAT or enzalutamide retreatment.BAT is a safe therapy that resulted in responses in asymptomatic men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and also resensitisation to enzalutamide in most patients undergoing rechallenge. Further studies with BAT are needed to define the potential clinical role for BAT in the management of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and the optimal strategy for sequencing between androgen and antiandrogen therapies in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer to maximise therapeutic benefit to patients.National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30906-3
View details for PubMedID 29248236
Inherited DNA-repair gene mutations are more prevalent in men with advanced prostate cancer than previously thought, but their clinical implications are not fully understood.To investigate the clinical significance of germline DNA-repair gene alterations in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) receiving next-generation hormonal therapy (NHT), with a particular emphasis on BRCA/ATM mutations.We interrogated 50 genes for pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline mutations using leukocyte DNA from 172 mCRPC patients beginning treatment with first-line NHT with abiraterone or enzalutamide.We assessed the impact of germline DNA-repair gene mutation status on ≥50% and ≥90% PSA responses, PSA progression-free survival (PSA-PFS), clinical/radiologic progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS). Survival outcomes were adjusted using propensity score-weighted multivariable Cox regression analyses.Among 172 mCRPC patients included, germline mutations (in any DNA-repair gene) were found in 12% (22/172) of men, and germline BRCA/ATM mutations specifically in 5% (9/172) of men. In unadjusted analyses, outcomes to first-line NHT were better in men with germline BRCA/ATM mutations (vs no mutations) with respect to PSA-PFS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.47; p=0.061), PFS (HR 0.50; p=0.090), and OS (HR 0.28; p=0.059). In propensity score-weighted multivariable analyses, outcomes were superior in men with germline BRCA/ATM mutations with respect to PSA-PFS (HR 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.92; p=0.027), PFS (HR 0.52, 95% CI 0.28-0.98; p=0.044), and OS (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.12-0.99; p=0.048), but not in men with non-BRCA/ATM germline mutations (all p>0.10). These results require prospective validation, and our conclusions are limited by the small number of patients (n=9) with BRCA/ATM mutations.Outcomes to first-line NHT appear better in mCRPC patients harboring germline BRCA/ATM mutations (vs no mutations), but not for patients with other non-BRCA/ATM germline mutations.Patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and harboring germline mutations in BRCA1/2 and ATM benefit from treatment with abiraterone and enzalutamide.
View details for PubMedID 29439820
Purpose We reported previously that the detection of androgen receptor splice variant-7 (AR-V7) mRNA in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) correlated with poor outcomes from the use of abiraterone and enzalutamide in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Here, we expanded our cohort size to better characterize the prognostic significance of AR-V7 in this setting. Methods We prospectively enrolled 202 patients with CRPC starting abiraterone or enzalutamide and investigated the prognostic value of CTC detection (+ v -) and AR-V7 detection (+ v -) using a CTC-based AR-V7 mRNA assay. We examined ≥ 50% prostate-specific antigen (PSA) responses, PSA progression-free survival, clinical and radiologic progression-free survival, and overall survival. We constructed multivariable models adjusting for PSA, Gleason sum, number of prior hormone therapies, prior abiraterone or enzalutamide use, prior taxane use, presence of visceral metastases, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score. We also separately examined the first-line and second-line novel hormonal therapy (NHT) settings. Results Median follow-up times were 15.0, 21.7, and 14.6 months for CTC-, CTC+/AR-V7- and CTC+/AR-V7+ patients, respectively. CTC+/AR-V7+ patients were more likely to have Gleason scores ≥ 8 ( P = .05), metastatic disease at diagnosis ( P = .01), higher PSA ( P < .01), prior abiraterone or enzalutamide use ( P = .03), prior taxane use ( P = .02), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group ≥ 1 ( P = .01). Outcomes for the overall cohort (and separately for the first-line and second-line NHT cohorts) were best for CTC- patients, intermediate for CTC+/AR-V7- patients, and worse for CTC+/AR-V7+ patients. These correlations remained significant in multivariable models. Conclusion This expanded analysis further characterizes the importance of CTC-based AR-V7 mRNA detection in predicting outcomes in patients with CRPC receiving first- and second-line NHT and, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to suggest that this assay be interpreted using three separate prognostic categories: CTC-, CTC+/AR-V7-, and CTC+/AR-V7+.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.2016.70.1961
View details for PubMedID 28384066
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5493048
Somatic genetic alterations including copy number and point mutations in the androgen receptor (AR) are associated with resistance to therapies targeting the androgen/AR axis in patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Due to limitations associated with biopsying metastatic lesions, plasma derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is increasingly being used as substrate for genetic testing. AR mutations detected by deep next generation sequencing (NGS) of cfDNA from patients with mCRPC have been reported at allelic fractions ranging from over 25% to below 1%. The lower bound threshold for accurate mutation detection by deep sequencing of cfDNA has not been comprehensively determined and may have locus specific variability. Herein, we used NGS for AR mutation discovery in plasma-derived cfDNA from patients with mCRPC and then used droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) for validation. Our findings show the AR (tTC>cTC) F877L hotspot was prone to false positive mutations during NGS. The rate of error at AR (tTC>cTC) F877L during amplification prior to ddPCR was variable among high fidelity polymerases. These results highlight the importance of validating low-abundant mutations detected by NGS and optimizing and controlling for amplification conditions prior to ddPCR.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.14926
View details for Web of Science ID 000396013700116
View details for PubMedID 28152506
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5362513
A splice variant of the androgen receptor, AR-V7, confers resistance to AR-targeted therapies (ATTs) but not taxane chemotherapies in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Since August 2015, a clinical-grade assay to detect AR-V7 messenger RNA expression in circulating tumors cells (CTCs) has been available to providers through a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.We contacted ordering providers of the first 150 consecutive tests by using a questionnaire-based survey to determine how the results of AR-V7 testing were used to influence clinical practice.In all, 142 (95%) of 150 questionnaires were completed by 38 providers from 29 sites across the United States and Canada. AR-V7 test results were reported either as CTC- (28%), CTC+/AR-V7- (30%), or CTC+/AR-V7+ (42%). Prevalence of AR-V7 detection increased with prior exposure to ATTs (abiraterone and enzalutamide naïve, 22%; after abiraterone or enzalutamide, 35%; after abiraterone and enzalutamide, 43%). Overall, management was affected by AR-V7 testing in 53% of the patients and even more often with CTC+/AR-V7+ results. AR-V7+ patients were commonly switched from ATT to taxane chemotherapy (43%) or were offered a clinical trial (43%); management remained unchanged in only 14% of these patients. Overall, patients who had a change in management on the basis of AR-V7 testing were significantly more likely to achieve a physician-reported 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen response on next-line therapy than those who did not change treatment (54% v 31%; P = .015).Providers used AR-V7 testing to influence clinical decision making more often than not. Physicians reported thatmenwithAR-V7+results had the most treatment changes, and such men were preferentially managed with taxane therapy or offered a clinical trial, which may have improved outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1200/PO.17.00127
View details for PubMedID 29170762
Patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) often are treated with drugs that target the androgen receptor (AR) ligand-binding domain. Constitutively active AR splice variant 7 (AR-V7) lacks the ligand-binding domain and, if detected in circulating tumor cells, may be associated with resistance to these agents. We validated an AR-V7 assay in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory. Circulating tumor cells were isolated, and mRNA was reverse-transcribed into cDNA. Real-time quantitative PCR amplification of reference transcripts (beta-actin and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), prostate-specific transcripts (prostate-specific membrane antigen, prostate-specific antigen, and AR-full length), and AR-V7 was performed. Specimens for validation included an AR-V7 expressing prostate cancer (LNCaP95), 38 peripheral blood controls, and 21 blood samples from CRPC patients. The assay detected as few as five LNCaP95 cells spiked into peripheral blood, showing high analytical sensitivity. Multiple inter-run and intrarun replicates of LNCaP95 cell line experiments yielded similar cycle threshold values for all genes, showing high analytical precision (AR-V7 cycle threshold CV of 0.67%). All 38 healthy control samples were negative for AR-V7, showing high diagnostic specificity (100%). The diagnostic accuracy was confirmed by concurrent testing of 21 CRPC samples in the research laboratory and the clinical diagnostic laboratory: concordance in AR-V7 status was achieved in all cases (positive in 4, negative in 17) (100% accuracy). This first validated clinical assay detects the AR-V7 with high analytical sensitivity, precision, specificity, and accuracy.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2016.08.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000390983100013
View details for PubMedID 27916435
Androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) has been implicated in resistance to abiraterone and enzalutamide treatment in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Tissue- or cell-based in situ detection of AR-V7, however, has been limited by lack of specificity.To address current limitations in precision measurement of AR-V7 by developing a novel junction-specific AR-V7 RNA in situ hybridization (RISH) assay compatible with automated quantification.We designed a RISH method to visualize single splice junctions in cells and tissue. Using the validated assay for junction-specific detection of the full-length AR (AR-FL) and AR-V7, we generated quantitative data, blinded to clinical data, for 63 prostate tumor biopsies.We evaluated clinical correlates of AR-FL/AR-V7 measurements, including association with prostate-specific antigen progression-free survival (PSA-PFS) and clinical and radiographic progression-free survival (PFS), in a subset of patients starting treatment with abiraterone or enzalutamide following biopsy.Quantitative AR-FL/AR-V7 data were generated from 56 of the 63 (88.9%) biopsy specimens examined, of which 44 were mCRPC biopsies. Positive AR-V7 signals were detected in 34.1% (15/44) mCRPC specimens, all of which also co-expressed AR-FL. The median AR-V7/AR-FL ratio was 11.9% (range 2.7-30.3%). Positive detection of AR-V7 was correlated with indicators of high disease burden at baseline. Among the 25 CRPC biopsies collected before treatment with abiraterone or enzalutamide, positive AR-V7 detection, but not higher AR-FL, was significantly associated with shorter PSA-PFS (hazard ratio 2.789, 95% confidence interval 1.12-6.95; p=0.0081).We report for the first time a RISH method for highly specific and quantifiable detection of splice junctions, allowing further characterization of AR-V7 and its clinical significance.Higher AR-V7 levels detected and quantified using a novel method were associated with poorer response to abiraterone or enzalutamide in prostate cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.eururo.2017.08.009
View details for PubMedID 28866255
While androgen ablation remains a mainstay for advanced prostate cancer therapy, nearly all patients will inevitably develop disease escape with time. Upon the development of castration-resistant prostate cancer, other androgen-axis-targeted treatments may be added in an effort to starve the disease of its androgen signaling. Nevertheless, additional androgen-pathway resistance usually develops to these novel hormonal therapies. In this review, we will discuss the resistance mechanisms to modern androgen-axis modulators and how these alterations can influence a patient's response to novel hormonal therapy. We conceptualize these resistance pathways as three broad categories: (1) reactivation of androgen/AR-signaling, (2) AR bypass pathways, and (3) androgen/AR-independent mechanisms. We highlight examples of each, as well as potential therapeutic approaches to overcome these resistance mechanisms.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11934-016-0584-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000371178100003
View details for PubMedID 26902623
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4888068