A novel FGFR3 splice variant preferentially expressed in african american prostate cancer drives aggressive phenotypes and docetaxel resistance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Molecular Cancer Research








© 2019 American Association for Cancer Research. Alternative splicing (AS) has been shown to participate in prostate cancer development and progression; however, a link between AS and prostate cancer health disparities has been largely unexplored. Here we report on the cloning of a novel splice variant of FGFR3 that is preferentially expressed in African American (AA) prostate cancer. This novel variant (FGFR3-S) omits exon 14, comprising 123 nucleotides that encode the activation loop in the intracellular split kinase domain. Ectopic overexpression of FGFR3-S in European American (EA) prostate cancer cell lines (PC-3 and LNCaP) led to enhanced receptor autophosphorylation and increased activation of the downstream signaling effectors AKT, STAT3, and ribosomal S6 compared with FGFR3-L (retains exon 14). The increased oncogenic signaling imparted by FGFR3-S was associated with a substantial gain in proliferative and antiapoptotic activities, as well as a modest but significant gain in cell motility. Moreover, the FGFR3-S-conferred proliferative and motility gains were highly resistant to the pan-FGFR smallmolecule inhibitor dovitinib and the antiapoptotic gain was insensitive to the cytotoxic drug docetaxel, which stands in marked contrast with dovitinib- and docetaxel-sensitive FGFR3-L. In an in vivo xenograft model, mice injected with PC-3 cells overexpressing FGFR3-S exhibited significantly increased tumor growth and resistance to dovitinib treatment compared with cells overexpressing FGFR3-L. In agreement with our in vitro and in vivo findings, a high FGFR3-S/FGFR3-L expression ratio in prostate cancer specimens was associated with poor patient prognosis.

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