Journal of Hematology & Oncology

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Journal of Hematology & Oncology


<ul><li><p>ral</p><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology</p><p>ssBioMed Cent</p><p>Open AcceCase reportA dramatic, objective antiandrogen withdrawal response: case report and review of the literatureYiu-Keung Lau1, Manpreet K Chadha2, Alan Litwin3 and Donald L Trump*2</p><p>Address: 1Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, West Virginia University, West Virginia, USA, 2Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, USA and 3Department of Radiology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY, USA</p><p>Email: Yiu-Keung Lau -; Manpreet K Chadha -; Alan Litwin -; Donald L Trump* -</p><p>* Corresponding author </p><p>AbstractAntiandrogen withdrawal response is an increasingly recognized entity in patients with metastaticprostate cancer. To our knowledge, there have been no reports describing a durable radiologicimprovement along with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) with discontinuation of the antiandrogenagent bicalutamide. We report a case in which a dramatic decline of serum PSA levels associatedwith a dramatic improvement in radiologic disease was achieved with bicalutamide discontinuation.</p><p>BackgroundCancer of the prostate is the most prevalent cancer ofAmerican men [1]. At the time of diagnosis almost 50% ofthe patients have disease that extends beyond the prostategland. Disseminated prostate cancer is primarily treatedby local palliative measures and by testicular androgenablation (medical or surgical). Non-steroidal antiandro-gens are commonly used either as short-term inductiontherapy to blunt the surge of testosterone that follows theinitiation of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone(LHRH) analogues, as long-term therapy with LHRH ana-logues or as single agent salvage treatment in men inwhom LHRH analogues or surgical castration have ceasedto control the disease. A phenomenon referred to as theantiandrogen withdrawal syndrome or antiandrogenwithdrawal response (AAWR) occurring in men receivingnon-steroidal antiandrogens was first described in 1993[2-4]. The AAWR is defined as a 50% decline in prostatespecific antigen (PSA) following cessation of an antian-</p><p>prolonged antiandrogen withdrawal response and discussthe literature and recent information regarding the patho-physiology of the AAWR.</p><p>Case presentationThe patient is a 75-year old African American man inwhom prostate adenocarcinoma was initially diagnosedin 1996. He had been asymptomatic and had presentedwith an increased prostate specific antigen (PSA) and anenlarged prostate on physical exam. Biopsy of the prostaterevealed prostate adenocarcinoma, Gleason grade 4+5 =9/10. His PSA at the time of diagnosis was 3105 ng/mL. Abone scan showed no evidence of metastatic disease, andthere are no records of other imaging studies being done.He was treated first with complete androgen blockade(leuprolide every three months and bicalutamide). ThePSA decreased dramatically to 0.55 ng/mL in six months.On follow-up examination, there was shrinkage of theprostate gland. He then received external beam radiation</p><p>Published: 5 November 2008</p><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology 2008, 1:21 doi:10.1186/1756-8722-1-21</p><p>Received: 24 July 2008Accepted: 5 November 2008</p><p>This article is available from:</p><p> 2008 Lau et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.Page 1 of 8(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>drogen. The pathophysiology of the phenomenon is notcompletely understood. We report a very dramatic and</p><p>to the prostate gland and the pelvis with total of 5000 cGyfrom June of 1997 to July of 1997. The post-treatment PSA</p></li><li><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology 2008, 1:21</p><p>was less than 0.5 ng/mL. He received brachytherapy withpalladium 103 (69 seeds, 1.36 mCi/seed) in August of1997. His PSA, however, progressively rose: 3.9 ng/mL in1998, 23.7 ng/mL in 1999, 81.6 ng/mL in 2000 and 144.7ng/mL in 2001. At that time, he was found to have bladderoutlet obstruction, thought to be due to bladder calculi.He underwent lithotripsy for bladder stones and transure-thral resection of the prostate. Neither slides nor tissuefrom this procedure are presently available. Bone scan inJune of 2001 did not show bone metastases. The serumPSA level rose to 4944 ng/mL in June of 2003. He hadbeen maintained on leuprolide and bicalutamide since1996. He was first seen at Roswell Park in June 2003. PSAlevel was 5786 ng/mL. He was asymptomatic and physicalexamination revealed residual mild expressive aphasiaand mild weakness in the left upper extremity due to aremote cerebrovascular accident. His performance statuswas Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 01and there were no other significant laboratory abnormal-ities except for mildly elevated serum creatinine. The pros-tate was not enlarged on physical exam. Anticipating thepossibility of an AAWR, we recommended discontinua-tion of bilcalutmide. The PSA declined by 26% (from5789 to 4275 ng/mL) after 45 days of antiandrogen with-drawal. In the meantime, we obtained imaging studies toevaluate his disease. Abdominal and pelvic CT scansshowed massive retroperitoneal, bilateral common iliacand bilateral internal iliac adenopathy consistent withmetastatic disease (see Figure 1A). Bone scan did not showany evidence of bone metastases. The serum PSA concen-tration continued to decrease and two months followingdiscontinuation of bicalutamide it was 3376 ng/mL (45%decline). Twelve months after discontinuing bicalutamidethe PSA reached a nadir of 3.19 ng/mL (Figure 2). Repeatabdominal and pelvic CT scan 7 months after the discon-tinuation of bicalutamide showed remarkable reductionin retroperitoneal and iliac adenopathy (Figure 1B). Thepatient continued to do well clinically. Twenty monthsafter anti-androgen withdrawal, the radiological responsewas maintained on the abdominal and pelvic CT scan(Figure 1C). Patient remained on leuprolide alone (afterbiacalutamide withdrawal) for approximately 3 years tillsignificant increase in PSA was noted and therapy changedto ketoconazole and hydrocortisone in addition to leu-prolide. At the time of change of therapy (May 2006) PSAhad increased to 331 ng/ml. No significant change in theretroperitoneal adenopathy was noted at that time on CTimaging. Interval development of nodularity adjacent toand contiguous with the superior aspect of the prostategland and a lymph node in the right obturator region werenoted, which were new. Patient was asymptomatic.Patient was on multiple medications which interactedwith ketoconazole and patient chose to continue on</p><p>increased thereafter to 724.89 ng/ml in December 2006.Performance status continued to decline and PSA pro-gressed rapidly to 4008.17 ng/ml in March 2007 and to5888.5 ng/ml in April 2007. Patient at this time decidedto restart ketoconazole in addition to hydrocortisone.However overall condition declined rapidly and patientwas placed under hospice care and died in September2007</p><p>DiscussionPrior case reports and clinical studies in antiandrogen withdrawalTable 1 summarizes a series of reports on antiandrogenwithdrawal [5-19].</p><p>The AAWR was first described by Kelly and Scher in 1993[5]. They described three metastatic prostate cancerpatients in whom discontinuation of the flutamideresulted in PSA decrease (36% to 89% decline) and insome cases symptomatic improvement. In a second reportby the same group, 36 men with metastatic prostate can-cer who were receiving flutamide and had progressive dis-ease were evaluated following flutamide discontinuation[6]. Ten patients had a substantial decline ( 80% in 7patients and 50% in 3) in the serum PSA level. The dura-tion of decline was short, median of 5+ months. In aCanadian study, the median duration of response was14.5 months [7]. Other reports of flutamide withdrawalresponse are as noted in table 1[8,9]. AAWR has also beendescribed following bicalutamide and nilutamide with-drawal [10-13]. Small and colleagues compared antian-drogen withdrawal alone or in combination withketoconazole in a randomized phase III trial in androgen-independent prostate cancer patients [14]. This is the larg-est prospective study of AAWR. One hundred thirty-twopatients were randomized to undergo androgen with-drawal alone or with ketoconazole and hydrocortisone.Eleven percent of patients undergoing antiandrogen with-drawal alone experienced PSA decline = 50%. The objec-tive response rate in a measurable disease was 2%. Themedian time to PSA progression in PSA responders was5.9 months (5.3 to 10.1 months). Of the patients hadantiandrogen withdrawal and ketoconazole, 27% had aPSA response and 20% had objective responses. Therewere no differences in survival.</p><p>Sher and colleagues suggested that there was an associa-tion between duration of antiandrogen therapy and thelikelihood of AAWR [15]. The median duration of antian-drogen use for patients with a PSA decline greater than50% from the baseline was 25 months versus 16 monthsof those nonresponders (p value = 0.012). Figg et alreported that patients who responded to flutamide with-Page 2 of 8(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>hydrocortisone alone after a short period (less than amonth). PSA declined to 222.70 ng/ml in June 2006 but</p><p>drawal received the agent for a longer period (2.33 years)than the non-responders (1.54 years) [16]. These differ-</p></li><li><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology 2008, 1:21</p><p>Page 3 of 8(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>Radiographic response to Bicalutamide withdrawalFigure 1Radiographic response to Bicalutamide withdrawal. Panel A depicts computed tomography scan of abdomen and pelvis with significant periaortic and retroperitoneal adenopathy about 2 months after cessation of bicalutamide. Panel B depicts dra-matic egression of adenopathy in response to bicalutamide withdrawal after 8 months. Panel C depicts durable response 20 months after bicalutamide withdrawal.</p></li><li><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology 2008, 1:21</p><p>ences were not statistically significant. The study fromHerrade et al did not show the significant associationbetween the duration of its use and withdrawal response[8]. The median months for initial hormone therapy were19 months for the responders and 16.5 months for thenon-responders (p = 0.41). There are no clear "predictors"of AAWR.</p><p>Molecular mechanisms of antiandrogen withdrawal responseThe mechanisms of AAWR are also unclear. Several pro-posed mechanisms are depicted in Figure 3[20-28]. Theandrogen receptor (AR) belongs to the steroid-receptorsuperfamily. After binding to its ligand, androgen, ARforms a homodimer and regulates androgen responsivegenes via androgen response elements. The receptor func-</p><p>which may associate with the AR-ligand complex controltranscriptional activity. AR consists of a c-terminal ligandbinding domain and a transactivation domain, the centralDNA binding domain and the N-terminal transactivationdomain. The AR protein can be detected even in theandrogen-independent prostate cancer and AR signalingis believed to be important even in so-called "androgenindependent disease". One of the proposed mechanismsof the AAWR is that it is mediated through AR mutation.It is postulated that mutations in the ligand bindingdomain can render noncanonical ligands, such as estro-gen, hydrocortisone, or androgen receptor antagonists,agnostic[22,23]. In vitro, hydroxyflutamide activates ARtranscriptional activity in the androgen-sensitive prostatecancer cell line, LNCaP. In LNCaP there is a point muta-tion in the AR, (threonine to alanine), at codon 877 in the</p><p>Effect of cessation of bicalutamide on serum PSA concentrationsFigure 2Effect of cessation of bicalutamide on serum PSA concentrations. Day zero is day of bicalutamide discontinutation.</p><p>Bicalutamide withdrawal response</p><p>0</p><p>10002000</p><p>30004000</p><p>50006000</p><p>7000</p><p>0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200Days after bicalutamide withdrawal</p><p>Seru</p><p>m PS</p><p>A le</p><p>vels</p><p>PSAPage 4 of 8(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>tions as a transcriptional factor and together with otherco-regulatory proteins (coactivators and co-repressors)</p><p>ligand binding domain of the AR gene [20,22]. Suchmutations have been described in tumor cells from</p></li><li><p>Journal of Hematology &amp; Oncology 2008, 1:21</p><p>patients who showed the AAWR [21]. Taplin et al havedescribed the isolation of cancer cells with mutant andro-gen receptor genes from patients with metastatic, andro-gen-independent cancer patients [24]. When these clonedgenes were transfected into the CV-1 cells (monkeyfibroblast cell line), they responded in an agonistic fash-ion to progesterone and estradiol. The wild type androgenreceptor is unresponsive or only weakly activated byantiandrogens. However, a detailed study by this groupshowed that only 10% of surveyed samples of tumor tis-sue from patients with androgen independent diseasedemonstrated AR mutations[25]. One hundred eighty-four bone marrow biopsies were obtained from menenrolled on a trial of antiandrogen withdrawal. In 48bone marrow biopsies prostate cancer was detected. Theandrogen receptors from these samples were sequenced.Five out of 48 samples (10%) had mutated androgenreceptors. All mutations were single-base, missense substi-tutions. Two of the mutations were located in the AF-2domain of androgen receptor which is essential for coac-tivator binding and its signaling. They found no correla-tion between androgen receptor mutations and anantiandrogen withdrawal response or survival. There wasa 20% PSA response to antiandrogen withdrawal in theandrogen receptor mutations group, compared with a 7%PSA response in the no mutation group. The median sur-vival in the androgen receptor mutation group was 9.2</p><p>the AR mutation group, compared with 3.1 months in theno mutation group. Therefore, mutations alone seemunlikely to account for all cases of androgen independentdisease and the antiandrogen withdrawal response.</p><p>It has also been suggested that antiandrogens may stimu-late a non-androgen receptor pathway. Lee et al showedthat hydroxyflutamide can activate the mitogen-activatedprotein (MAP) kinase pathway independent of androgenreceptor [26]. They showed by immunohistochemicalanalysis a significant increase of activated MAP kinase inprostate tumors from patients receiving hydroxyfluta-mide. In vitro hydroxyflutmamide induced rapid activa-tion of ras/MAP kinase pathway in human prostate cancerDU145 cells (which lack the androgen receptor) as well asin CWR22 and PC-3AR2 androgen receptor positive cellslines, indicating that the activation did not require andro-gen receptor. Furthermore, an epidermal gro...</p></li></ul>