PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome-10), a dual specificity phosphatase, is a tumor suppressor gene whose inactivation has been associated with many different types of cancer including prostate cancer. Prostate adenocarcinoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed malignancies afflicting the male population in both the United States and Europe. The frequency of PTEN inactivation appears to increase during the progression of prostatic cancer. The physical loss of the PTEN genetic locus in prostate cancer progression has been well characterized, however the molecular implication of this loss of PTEN remains enigmatic. The purpose of this review is to describe the functional role of PTEN in the molecular pathogenesis of prostatic disease. We review the function of PTEN discussing its association with the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction pathways. Additionally, we discuss the role of PTEN in the regulation of apoptotic pathways involving the anti-apoptotic gene bcl-2 and the pro-apoptotic ligand TRAIL. We also review the mechanisms that can lead to the loss of PTEN function. We describe genetic inactivation including loss of heterozygosity, haploinsufficiency and mutation. We conclude by outlining epigenetic loss including methylation, post-translational modifications and oxidative stress.