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Asian J Androl. 2009 Jan;11(1):28-35. doi: 10.1038/aja.2008.39. Epub 2008 Dec 22.

Stroma-epithelium crosstalk in prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.


The critical role played by stroma-epithelium crosstalk in carcinogenesis and progression of prostate cancer has been increasingly recognized. These interactions are mediated by a variety of paracrine factors secreted by cancer cells and/or stromal cells. In human prostate cancer, reactive stroma is characterized by an increase in myofibroblasts and a corresponding amplification of extracellular matrix production and angiogenesis. Permanent genetic mutations have been reported in stromal cells as well as in tumour cells. Transforming growth factor-beta, vascular endothelial growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor and fibroblast growth factor signalling pathways are involved in the process of angiogenesis, whereas hepatocyte growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1, epidermal growth factor, CXC12 and Interleukin-6 play active roles in the progression, androgen-independent conversion and distal metastasis of prostate cancer. Some soluble factors have reciprocal interactions with androgens and the androgen receptor (AR), and can even activate AR in the absence of the androgen ligand. In this article, we review the complex interactions between cancer cells and the surrounding microenvironment, and discuss the potential therapeutic targets in the stromal compartment of prostate cancer.

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