Metastatic and castration-resistant disease is a fatal manifestation of prostate cancer (PCa). The mechanism through which resistance to androgen deprivation in PCa is developed remains largely unknown. Our understanding of the tumor microenvironment (TME) and key signaling pathways between tumors and their TME is currently changing in light of the generation of new knowledge with regard to cancer progression. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase domain-containing protein 9 (ADAM9) is a membranous bridge forming cell-cell and cell-matrix connections that regulate tumor aggressiveness and metastasis. However, it is not known whether ADAM9 expressed in the TME contributes to the CRPC phenotype. In this study, we aimed to investigate the expression patterns of ADAM9 in prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). We also intended to elucidate the effects of both stromal cell- and cancer cell-derived ADAM9 on the progression of CRPC and the implicated molecular pathways. By using both clinical specimens and cell lines, we herein showed that unlike the membrane anchored ADAM9 overexpressed by both PCa cells and prostate CAFs, the secreted isoform of ADAM9 (sADAM9) was strongly detected in CAFs, but rarely in tumor cells, and that could be a serum marker for PCa patients. We demonstrated that functionally sADAM9 are characterized as chemoattractant for the directed movement of androgen-independent PCa cells through integrin downstream FAK/AKT pathway, supporting that elevated sADAM9 by prostate CAFs could be responsible for the promotion of CRPC metastasis. Moreover, by stimulating PCa cells with sADAM9, we found that ubinuclein-2 (UBN2) expression was increased. A positive correlation of ADAM9 and UBN2 expression was observed in androgen receptor-expressing PCa cell lines and further confirmed in clinical PCa specimens. Using a genetic modification approach, we identified UBN2 as a downstream target gene of ADAM9 that is critical for the survival of androgen-dependent PCa cells in response to androgen deprivation, through the induction and effect of the aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C3 (AKR1C3). Collectively, our results reveal a novel action of ADAM9 on the transition of androgen-dependent PCa cells into an androgen-independent manner through the UBN2/AKR1C3 axis; the aforementioned action could contribute to the clinically-observed acquired androgen-deprivation therapy resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-197
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The ADAM9/UBN2/AKR1C3 axis promotes resistance to androgen-deprivation in prostate cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this