Competitive inhibitors of acetyl-lysine binding to the bromodomains of the BET (bromodomain and extra terminal) family are being developed for the treatment of solid and hematologic malignancies. The function of BET family member BRD4 at enhancers/superenhancers has been shown to sustain signal-dependent or pathogenic gene expression programs. Here, the hypothesis was tested that the transcription factor drivers of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) clinical progression, including the androgen receptor (AR), are critically dependent on BRD4 and thus represent a sensitive solid tumor indication for the BET inhibitor ABBV-075. DHT-stimulated transcription of AR target genes was inhibited by ABBV-075 without significant effect on AR protein expression. Furthermore, ABBV-075 disrupted DHT-stimulated recruitment of BET family member BRD4 to gene-regulatory regions cooccupied by AR, including the well-established PSA and TMPRSS2 enhancers. Persistent BET inhibition disrupted the composition and function of AR-occupied enhancers as measured by a reduction in AR and H3K27Ac ChIP signal and inhibition of enhancer RNA transcription. ABBV-075 displayed potent antiproliferative activity in multiple models of resistance to second-generation antiandrogens and inhibited the activity of the AR splice variant AR-V7 and ligand-binding domain gain-of-function mutations, F877L and L702H. ABBV-075 was also a potent inhibitor of MYC and the TMPRSS2-ETS fusion protein, important parallel transcription factor drivers of CRPC.
Implications: The ability of BET family inhibitor ABBV-075 to inhibit transcription activation downstream of the initiating events of transcription factors like AR and TMPRSS2:ETS fusion proteins provides a promising therapeutic option for CRPC patients who have developed resistance to second-generation antiandrogens. Mol Cancer Res; 15(1); 35–44. ©2016 AACR.
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Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Research Online (http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 1, 2016.
- Revision received September 15, 2016.
- Accepted September 22, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.