Deregulated proliferation is one of the main events in neoplastic transformation, and this has prompted increased attention being given to the understanding of the mechanisms involved in cell cycle regulation and its alterations. The 'retinoblastoma pathway', a key effector controlling G1-S phase transition, includes several oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes which display a wide range of abnormalities with potential usefulness as markers of evolution or treatment response in prostate cancer. Among these, the existence of p53 mutations seems to predict resistance to radiotherapy or systemic treatment, and p16 overexpression or p27 downregulation seems to serve as markers of poor evolution. The well-established existence of a critical hormonal role in prostate carcinogenesis coupled with the relationship of androgenic activity and regulation of several cell cycle modulators forces cell cycle control in the prostate to be envisioned as a highly complex steroid-influenced system, which will undoubtedly have critical implications in the future management of prostate cancer patients.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel