Whether serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) being associated with enzalutamide (Enz) resistance and metastasis of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has not been clear. SPINK1 promoted Enz resistance by upregulating Androgen receptor splicing variant 7 (ARv7), and enhanced the invasion/migration of Enz-resistant cells via ERK/p38/ MMP9 signaling. Furthermore, miR-5089-5p suppressed SPINK1 mRNA through direct binding to its 3'UTR, and reversed its pro-proliferative and pro-metastatic effects. Mice bearing SPINK1-knockdown Enz-resistant PCa tumors showed significantly longer survival compared with those bearing wild-type tumors, while treatment with miR-5089-5p inhibitor abrogated the protective effects of SPINK1 knockdown. Taken together, SPINK1 can be used as a biomarker of resistance to Enz, and the miR-5089-5p/SPINK1/MAPK/MMP9 axis is a suitable therapeutic target against Enz-resistant and metastatic CRPC.

Methods: The expression of SPINK1 in Enz-resistant prostate cancer (PCa) cell lines was detected through next-generation sequencing data and metastatic PCa patients. In vivo and in vitro experiments were performed to investigate the role of SPINK1 in Enz-resistance and metastasis.