Endocrine regulation of prostate cancer growth

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Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed malignant neoplasms in the Western world. The focus of this article is on regulation of proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis and differentiation by steroid and peptide hormones. Steroid hormones, in particular androgens and estrogens, exert their effects through respective receptors. The androgen receptor is functional in all stages of the disease and it can be activated in a ligand-dependent and –independent manner. In prostate cancer, expression of some androgen receptor coactivators increases during tumor progression. Interleukins and transforming growth factor-β are multifunctional regulators of prostate growth and proliferation. Signal transduction cascades of fibroblast growth factors and insulin-like growth factors are responsible for increased survival and angiogenesis in prostate cancer. In clinical specimens obtained from prostate cancer, there is an increased phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt kinase, whose action in the regulation of cell survival is redundant.

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