Purpose: There are several reports of androgen receptor in bladder cancer cases but androgen receptor expression and the function of androgen/androgen receptor signaling in bladder cancer remain unclear. We investigated androgen receptor expression and the role of androgen/androgen receptor signaling in bladder cancer. Materials and Methods: We evaluated AR mRNA expression in bladder cancer tissue by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The role of androgen receptor in cell growth and drug sensitivity was also evaluated in vitro and in vivo in several bladder cancer cell lines. Results: AR mRNA expression inversely correlated with bladder cancer grade, stage and spread. Of several bladder cancer cell lines UMUC3 and MBT-2 markedly expressed androgen receptor transcript and protein. In each cell line androgen/androgen receptor signaling blockade using androgen deprivation, blockade knockdown and antiandrogen agents decreased cell growth, colony formation and cell viability. Androgen receptor expression was implicated in doxorubicin resistance. Inversely androgen receptor deprivation and knockdown made UMUC3 cells sensitive to doxorubicin. Finally, castration slightly suppressed UMUC3 tumor growth in vivo, although this did not attain statistical significance. Conclusions: AR transcript expression inversely correlates with bladder cancer clinicopathological characteristics. Androgen/androgen receptor signaling has an important role in the growth and vulnerability to doxorubicin of bladder cancer cells that express androgen receptor. Androgen/androgen receptor signaling might be a possible prophylactic and therapeutic target for bladder cancer that shows androgen receptor expression.
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