Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Prostate Cancer Development: Therapeutic Implications

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Prostate cancer is the most frequent nonskin cancer and second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in man. Prostate cancer is a clinically heterogeneous disease with many patients exhibiting an aggressive disease with progression, metastasis, and other patients showing an indolent disease with low tendency to progression. Three stages of development of human prostate tumors have been identified: intraepithelial neoplasia, adenocarcinoma androgen-dependent, and adenocarcinoma androgen-independent or castration-resistant. Advances in molecular technologies have provided a very rapid progress in our understanding of the genomic events responsible for the initial development and progression of prostate cancer. These studies have shown that prostate cancer genome displays a relatively low mutation rate compared with other cancers and few chromosomal loss or gains. The ensemble of these molecular studies has led to suggest the existence of two main molecular groups of prostate cancers: one characterized by the presence of ERG rearrangements (~50% of prostate cancers harbor recurrent gene fusions involving ETS transcription factors, fusing the 5' untranslated region of the androgen-regulated gene TMPRSS2 to nearly the coding sequence of the ETS family transcription factor ERG) and features of chemoplexy (complex gene rearrangements developing from a coordinated and simultaneous molecular event), and a second one characterized by the absence of ERG rearrangements and by the frequent mutations in the E3 ubiquitin ligase adapter SPOP and/or deletion of CDH1, a chromatin remodeling factor, and interchromosomal rearrangements and SPOP mutations are early events during prostate cancer development. During disease progression, genomic and epigenomic abnormalities accrued and converged on prostate cancer pathways, leading to a highly heterogeneous transcriptomic landscape, characterized by a hyperactive androgen receptor signaling axis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedicines (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 30 2019


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