CDK12-Mutated Prostate Cancer: Clinical Outcomes with Standard Therapies and Immune Checkpoint Blockade

Schweizer MT*, Ha G*, Gulati R, Brown L, McKay RR, Dorff T, Hoge ACH, Reichel J, Vats P, Kilari D, Patel V, Oh WK, Chinnaiyan A, Pritchard CC, Armstrong AJ, Montgomery RB, Alva A
JCO Precision Oncology 4, 382-392 (2020).



Translational studies have shown that CDK12 mutations may delineate an immunoresponsive subgroup of prostate cancer, characterized by high neo-antigen burden. Given that these mutations may define a clinically distinct subgroup, we sought to describe outcomes to standard drugs and checkpoint inhibitors (CPI).


Clinical data from consecutive patients with CDK12 mutations were retrospectively collected from 7 centers. Several clinical-grade sequencing assays were used to assess CDK12 status. Descriptive statistics included PSA50 response rate (≥ 50% decline in prostate-specific antigen from baseline) and clinical/radiographic progression-free survival (PFS).


Of 52 patients with CDK12-mutated prostate cancer, 27 (52%) had detected biallelic CDK12 alterations. At diagnosis, 44 (88%) had Gleason grade group 4-5, 52% had T3-T4, and 14 (27%) had M1 disease. Median follow-up was 8.2 years (95% CI, 5.6 to 11.1 years), and 49 (94%) developed metastatic disease. Median overall survival from metastasis was 3.9 years (95% CI, 3.2 to 8.1 years). Unconfirmed PSA50 response rates to abiraterone and enzalutamide in the first-line castration-resistant prostate cancer setting were 11 of 17 (65%) and 9 of 12 (75%), respectively. Median PFS on first-line abiraterone and enzalutamide was short, at 8.2 months (95% CI, 6.6 to 12.6 months) and 10.6 months (95% CI, 10.2 months to not reached), respectively. Nineteen patients received CPI therapy. PSA50 responses to CPI were noted in 11%, and PFS was short; however, the estimated 9-month PFS was 23%. PFS was higher in chemotherapy-naïve versus chemotherapy-pretreated patients (median PFS: not reached v 2.1 months, P = .004).


CDK12 mutations define an aggressive prostate cancer subgroup, with a high rate of metastases and short overall survival. CPI may be effective in a minority of these patients, and exploratory analysis supports using anti–programmed cell death protein 1 drugs early. Prospective studies testing CPI in this subset of patients with prostate cancer are warranted.