Transition to androgen-independence in prostate cancer

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Jul;81(3):191-201. doi: 10.1016/s0960-0760(02)00064-x.


Prostate carcinoma is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of death as a result of cancer in men in the western countries. Withdrawal of androgens or the peripheral blockage of androgen action remain the critical therapeutic options for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. However, after initial regression, most of the prostate cancers become androgen-independent and progress further, with eventual fatal outcome. Understanding the mechanisms of transition to androgen independence and tumor progression in prostate cancer is critical to finding new ways to treat aged patients that are ineligible for conventional chemotherapy. A large number of different molecular mechanisms might be responsible for the transition to androgen-independence. Many of these involve the androgen receptor (AR) and its signalling pathways, but they might also include genetic changes that affect several genes, which results in the activation of oncogenes or the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes. Here, we discuss the most recent and relevant findings on androgen resistance in prostate cancer in order provide a comprehensive interpretation of the clinical behaviour of tumors at molecular levels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • Dimerization
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Androgens
  • Receptors, Androgen