Castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has greater intratumoral testosterone concentrations than similar tumors from eugonadal men; simple diffusion does not account for this observation. The present study was undertaken to ascertain the androgen uptake kinetics, functional, and clinical relevance of de novo expression of the steroid hormone transporter OATP1B3 (SLCO1B3). Experiments testing the cellular uptake of androgens suggest that testosterone is an excellent substrate of OATP1B3 (KM=23.2µM; VMAX=321.6pmol/mg/min), and cells expressing a doxycycline-inducible SLCO1B3 construct had greater uptake of a clinically relevant concentration of 3H-testosterone (50nM; 1.6-fold, P=0.0027). When compared to Slco1b2 (-/-) mice, Slco1b2 (-/-)/hSLCO1B3 knockins had greater hepatic uptake (15% greater AUC, P=0.0040) and lower plasma exposure to 3H-testosterone (17% lower AUC, P=0.0030). Of 82 transporters genes, SLCO1B3 is the second-most differentially-expressed transporter in CRPC cell lines (116-fold vs androgen sensitive cells), with a differentially-spliced cancer-type ct-SLCO1B3 making up the majority of SLCO1B3 expression. Overexpression of SLCO1B3 in androgen responsive cells results in 1.5- to 2-fold greater testosterone uptake whereas siRNA knockdown of SLCO1B3 in CRPC cells did not change intracellular testosterone concentration. Primary human prostate tumors express SLCO1B3 to a greater extent than ct-SLCO1B3 (26% of total SLCO1B3 expression vs 0.08%), suggesting that androgen uptake in these tumor cells also is greater. Non-liver tumors do not differentially express SLCO1B3. Implications: The present study suggests that de novo OATP1B3 expression in prostate cancer drives greater androgen uptake and is consistent with previous observations that greater OATP1B3 activity results in the development of Androgen Deprivation Therapy resistance and shorter overall survival.
- Received December 20, 2016.
- Revision received March 3, 2017.
- Accepted April 4, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.