Strategies to avoid treatment-induced lineage crisis in advanced prostate cancer
The increasing potency of therapies that target the androgen receptor (AR) signalling axis has correlated with a rise in the proportion of patients with prostate cancer harbouring an adaptive phenotype, termed treatment-induced lineage crisis. This phenotype is characterized by features that include soft-tissue metastasis and/or resistance to standard anticancer therapies. Potent anticancer treatments might force cancer cells to evolve and develop alternative cell lineages that are resistant to primary therapies, a mechanism similar to the generation of multidrug-resistant microorganisms after continued antibiotic use. Herein, we assess the hypothesis that treatment-adapted phenotypes harbour reduced AR expression and/or activity, and acquire compensatory strategies for cell survival. We highlight the striking similarities between castration-resistant prostate cancer and triple-negative breast cancer, another poorly differentiated endocrine malignancy. Alternative treatment paradigms are needed to avoid therapy-induced resistance. Herein, we present a new clinical trial strategy designed to evaluate the potential of rapid drug cycling as an approach to delay the onset of resistance and treatment-induced lineage crisis in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.