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Apoptosis. 2003 Jan;8(1):29-37.

BCL-2 in prostate cancer: a minireview.

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Biochemistry Division, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Prostate cancer progression and the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer have been largely related to a number of genetic abnormality that affect not only the androgen receptor but also crucial molecules involved in the regulation of survival or apoptotic pathways. One of these molecules, the pro-survival protein BCL-2, has been associated with the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer due to its high levels of expression in androgen-independent tumors in advanced stages of the pathology. The upregulation of BCL-2 after androgen ablation in prostate carcinoma cell lines and in a castrated-male rat model further established a connection between BCL-2 expression and prostate cancer progression. This review focuses on the experimental evidence that associates BCL-2 expression with prostate carcinogenesis and cancer progression, and analyzes the evidence that links the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase)/nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) survival pathway with the upregulation of BCL-2. The way in which hormone ablation influences this survival pathway and the potential application of novel therapeutic strategies to overcome this anti-apoptotic mechanism is examined.

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