CDK12-Altered Prostate Cancer: Clinical Features and Therapeutic Outcomes to Standard Systemic Therapies, Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors, and PD-1 Inhibitors

Purpose: In prostate cancer, inactivating CDK12 mutations lead to gene fusion-induced neoantigens and possibly sensitivity to immunotherapy. We aimed to clinically, pathologically, and molecularly characterize CDK12-aberrant prostate cancers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective multicenter study to identify patients with advanced prostate cancer who harbored somatic loss-of-function CDK12 mutations. We used descriptive statistics to characterize their clinical features and therapeutic outcomes (prostate-specific antigen [PSA] responses, progression-free survival [PFS]) to various systemic therapies, including sensitivity to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and PD-1 inhibitors.

Results: Sixty men with at least monoallelic (51.7% biallelic) CDK12 alterations were identified across nine centers. Median age at diagnosis was 60.5 years; 71.7% and 28.3% were white and nonwhite, respectively; 93.3% had Gleason grade group 4-5; 15.4% had ductal/intraductal histology; 53.3% had metastases at diagnosis; and median PSA was 24.0 ng/mL. Of those who underwent primary androgen deprivation therapy for metastatic hormone-sensitive disease (n = 59), 79.7% had a PSA response, and median PFS was 12.3 months. Of those who received first-line abiraterone and enzalutamide for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC; n = 34), 41.2% had a PSA response, and median PFS was 5.3 months. Of those who received a first taxane chemotherapy for mCRPC (n = 22), 31.8% had a PSA response, and median PFS was 3.8 months. Eleven men received a PARP inhibitor (olaparib [n = 10], rucaparib [n = 1]), and none had a PSA response (median PFS, 3.6 months). Nine men received a PD-1 inhibitor as fourth- to sixth-line systemic therapy (pembrolizumab [n = 5], nivolumab [n = 4]); 33.3% had a PSA response, and median PFS was 5.4 months.

Conclusion: CDK12-altered prostate cancer is an aggressive subtype with poor outcomes to hormonal and taxane therapies as well as to PARP inhibitors. A proportion of these patients may respond favorably to PD-1 inhibitors, which implicates CDK12 deficiency in immunotherapy sensitivity.

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