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Androgen receptor (AR) is expressed in 60-70% of breast cancers (BCs) and the availability of anti-AR compounds, currently used for treating prostate cancer, paves the way to tackle specifically AR-positive BC patients. The prognostic and predictive role of AR in BC is a matter of debate, since the results from clinical trials are not striking, probably due to both technical and biological reasons. In this review, we aimed to highlight WHAT is AR, describing its structure and functions, WHAT to test and HOW to detect AR, WHERE AR should be tested (on primary tumor or metastasis) and WHY studying this fascinating hormone receptor, exploring and debating on its prognostic and predictive role. We considered AR and its ratio with other hormone receptors, analyzing also studies including patients with ductal carcinoma in situ and with early and advanced BC, as well. We also emphasized the effects that both other hormone receptors and the newly emerging androgen-inducible non coding RNAs may have on AR function in BC pathology and the putative implementation in the clinical setting. Moreover, we pointed out the latest results by clinical trials and we speculated about the use of anti-AR therapies in BC clinical practice. Copyright © 2022 Ravaioli, Maltoni, Pasculli, Parrella, Giudetti, Vergara, Tumedei, Pirini and Bravaccini.


Sara Ravaioli, Roberta Maltoni, Barbara Pasculli, Paola Parrella, Anna Maria Giudetti, Daniele Vergara, Maria Maddalena Tumedei, Francesca Pirini, Sara Bravaccini. Androgen receptor in breast cancer: The "5W" questions. Frontiers in endocrinology. 2022;13:977331

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PMID: 36111296

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