Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is a more aggressive subtype of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Although it is well established that PHF8 can enhance prostate cancer cell proliferation, whether PHF8 is involved in prostate cancer initiation and progression is relatively unclear. By comparing the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice with or without Phf8 knockout, we systemically examined the role of PHF8 in prostate cancer development. We found that PHF8 plays a minimum role in initiation and progression of adenocarcinoma. However, PHF8 is essential for NEPC because PHF8 is not only highly expressed in NEPC but animals without Phf8 also failed to develop NEPC. Mechanistically, PHF8 transcriptionally upregulates FOXA2 by demethylating and removing the repressive histone markers on the promoter region of FOXA2 gene, and the upregulated FOXA2 subsequently regulates the expression of genes involved in NEPC development. Since both PHF8 and FOXA2 are highly expressed in NEPC tissues from patients or patient-derived xenografts, the levels of PHF8 and FOXA2 can either individually or in combination serve as NEPC biomarkers and targeting either PHF8 or FOXA2 could be potential therapeutic strategies for NEPC treatment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.