BACKGROUND: The multiple pathways that are involved in neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) in prostate cancer (PCa) are poorly elucidated. Evidence suggests that several environmental triggers induce NED leading to the adaptation of PCa to its close environment to maintain cell proliferation. Nevertheless, there is conflicting evidence regarding the prognostic role of NED in PCa.
METHODS: In this review, we aimed to summarize all available data about NED and to assess the prognostic role of NED in disease progression and therapy resistance, and its role in routine clinical practice. This review was based on articles found through a PubMed literature search between 1993 and 2013. The study outcome measure was the effect of NED on oncologic outcomes at each PCa stage.
RESULTS: In total, 59 articles reporting on the effect of NED on oncologic outcomes have been selected. In clinical practice, immunostaining for NED markers could have interesting predictive value for assessing the oncologic outcomes in patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy. Thus, patients with high NED burden may be candidates for more aggressive treatment strategies targeting NED pathways. Conversely, strong evidence is lacking concerning its potential independent prognostic value in hormone-naïve PCa.
CONCLUSIONS: Current published data are not sufficient to recommend the use of NE markers in routine practice, particularly at early PCa stage.
- Neuroendocrine differentiation
- Prostate cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas