The importance of androgen receptors in breast cancer
Background and aim. Breast cancer (BC) is the most common malignancy among women worldwide, and one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in females. For the breast malignant tumors there are numerous targeted therapies, depending on the receptors expressed. Regulating the process of epithelial-mesenchyme transcription, the steroid nuclear receptors are important in invasion and progression of BC cells. Till now, it is known that androgen receptor (AR) is present in about 60-80% of BC cells but, unfortunately, there is no targeted therapy available yet.
Methods. We revised the recent literature that included the AR mechanism of action in patients diagnosed with breast cancer, the preclinical, retrospective and clinical studies and the aspects related to the prognosis of these patients, depending on the molecular subtype.
Results. A total of 12 articles were eligible for this review. AR positivity was assessed using immunohistochemistry. Herein, neither 1 nor 10% cut-points were robustly prognostic. AR was an independent prognostic marker of BC outcome, especially in triple negative BC group.
Conclusion. AR is a potential targeted pathway which can improve the prognostic of AR positive patients with BC. Further preclinical and clinical studies are necessary to clarify the mechanism of action and to establish the drugs which can be used, either alone or in combination.