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Cancer Metastasis Rev. 1998-1999;17(4):391-9.

Stem cell genes in androgen-independent prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA School of Medicine, USA.


Despite recent advances in the detection and treatment of early stage prostate cancer, there remains little effective therapy for patients with locally advanced and/or metastatic disease. Although the majority of patients with advanced disease respond initially to androgen ablation therapy, most go on to develop androgen-independent tumors that are inevitably fatal. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms by which a hormone-sensitive tumor escapes hormonal control is critical to the development of effective therapeutic modalities. The study of the differentiation pathways of normal and abnormal prostate growth has led to the development of a stem cell model for prostate cancer [1-3]. Recent work discussed in this commentary suggests that prostate tumors resist apoptosis and proliferate by adopting features of normal prostatic stem/progenitor cells. Basal cells, the putative stem/progenitor cells of the prostate, possess the phenotype of androgen-independence as do most advanced prostate cancers. Therefore, the study of basal cells may prove critical to understanding prostate carcinogenesis and to the development of novel strategies for preventing and managing prostate cancer.

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