Reprogramming of the FOXA1 cistrome in treatment-emergent neuroendocrine prostate cancer
Sylvan C Baca,
David Y. Takeda,
Sheng Yu Ku,
Sarah Abu Alaiwi,
Rosario I. Corona,
Marcos A. S. Fonseca,
Jacob E. Berchuck,
Holly M Nguyen,
Ilsa M. Coleman,
Navonil De Sarkar,
Peter S. Nelson,
Mark M. Pomerantz,
William C. Hahn,
Henry W Long,
Matthew L Freedman
Posted 24 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.23.350793
Posted 24 Oct 2020
Lineage plasticity, the ability of a cell to alter its identity, is an increasingly common mechanism of adaptive resistance to targeted therapy in cancer. An archetypal example is the development of neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) after treatment of prostate adenocarcinoma (PRAD) with inhibitors of androgen signaling. NEPC is an aggressive variant of prostate cancer that aberrantly expresses genes characteristic of neuroendocrine (NE) tissues and no longer depends on androgens. To investigate the epigenomic basis of this resistance mechanism, we profiled histone modifications in NEPC and PRAD patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) using chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq). We identified a vast network of cis-regulatory elements (N~15,000) that are recurrently activated in NEPC. The FOXA1 transcription factor (TF), which pioneers androgen receptor (AR) chromatin binding in the prostate epithelium, is reprogrammed to NE-specific regulatory elements in NEPC. Despite loss of dependence upon AR, NEPC maintains FOXA1 expression and requires FOXA1 for proliferation and expression of NE lineage-defining genes. Ectopic expression of the NE lineage TFs ASCL1 and NKX2-1 in PRAD cells reprograms FOXA1 to bind to NE regulatory elements and induces enhancer activity as evidenced by histone modifications at these sites. Our data establish the importance of FOXA1 in NEPC and provide a principled approach to identifying novel cancer dependencies through epigenomic profiling. ### Competing Interest Statement W.C.H. is a consultant for Thermo Fisher, Solasta Ventures, iTeos, Frontier Medicines, Tyra Biosciences, MPM Capital, KSQ Therapeutics, and Paraxel and is a founder of KSQ Therapeutics.
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