Agents, biomarkers, and cohorts for chemopreventive agent development in prostate cancer

Urology. 2001 Apr;57(4 Suppl 1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(00)00940-7.


Chemoprevention is the use of agents to slow progression of, reverse, or inhibit carcinogenesis thereby lowering the risk of developing invasive or clinically significant disease. With its long latency, high incidence and significant morbidity and mortality, prostate cancer is a relevant target for chemoprevention. Developing rational chemopreventive strategies for prostate cancer requires well-characterized agents, suitable cohorts, and reliable intermediate biomarkers of cancer. Chemopreventive agent requirements are experimental or epidemiologic data showing efficacy, safety on chronic administration, and a mechanistic rationale for activity. Current promising agents include antiandrogens and antiestrogens; steroid aromatase inhibitors; retinoids and their modulators; 5alpha-reductase inhibitors; vitamins D, E, and analogs; selenium compounds; carotenoids; soy isoflavones; dehydroepiandrostenedione and analogs; 2-difluoromethylornithine; lipoxygenase inhibitors; apoptosis inducers; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Identifying biomarkers and validating them as surrogate endpoints for cancer incidence are critical for prostate chemoprevention trials. Potentially useful biomarkers for prostate chemoprevention are associated with histologic, proliferative, differentiation-related, biochemical, and genetic/regulatory features of prostatic disease. In that the prostate is not easily visualized, critical issues also include adequacy and consistency of tissue sampling. Various drugs for the chemoprevention of prostate cancer are now under evaluation in phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials. Cohort selection should be based on various patient characteristics (stage of the disease, previous cancers or premalignant lesions, or high risk factors) and should be conducted within the context of standard treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Patient Selection
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Biomarkers