Background: An elucidation of the complex, morphological and molecular changes that underlie benign and malignant prostatic disease will likely lead to improved methods of diagnosis and therapy for those disorders. To identify and understand the interrelation of the phenotypic and genetic changes inherent in these important diseases requires the development and use of in vivo and in vitro models that closely mimic specific aspects of the disease process. Once the suspected molecular underpinnings of prostatic disease are uncovered, in vivo and in vitro models will be required for further testing of the functional significance of specific genetic alterations as they are identified. In addition models of prostatic disease are necessary to evaluate novel therapeutic approaches.
Methods: The mouse prostate reconstitution (MPR) model system was developed more than a decade ago with these specific needs in mind. Over the years, specific modifications of the MPR model have demonstrated its versatility and applicability for the study of benign and malignant prostatic disease, including metastatic progression.
Results: We discuss various modifications of the MPR model system made for its application to specific aspects of prostatic disease; the clinically relevant information that has been gleaned thus far from the use of this model system; and advances on the horizon for the expansion of its role in prostate research.
Conclusions: The MPR model system has contributed substantially to the understanding and treatment of benign and malignant prostatic diseases. Additional modifications in this series of in vivo and in vitro models will likely lead to further advances.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.