The androgen receptor plays a pivotal role in the prostate. Its primary function is to provide responsive gene products for differentiation and growth, but under abnormal conditions it contributes to the development of prostate cancer. The goal of this review is to elucidate the molecular functions of the androgen receptor and its role in prostate cancer. Initially the function of the androgen receptor will be described. Next, the clinical diagnosis, epidemiological impact, and treatments of androgen-dependent and -independent prostate cancer will be discussed. Finally we will examine how the mechanism of androgen action has played a role in the translation of new therapies and how this may influence future treatment modalities of prostate cancer.