Androgens play a major role in promoting the development and progression of prostate cancer. As a result, androgen ablation or blockade of androgen action through the androgen receptor (AR) has been the cornerstone of treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Different strategies involving this hormonal therapy produce a significant clinical response in most of the patients, but most responders eventually lose dependency, resulting in mortality. Thus, whether hormonal therapy contributes to the improvement of overall survival rates, especially in patients with advanced prostate cancer, remains controversial. However, patients with advanced disease clearly have a benefit from androgen deprivation-based treatment for palliating their symptoms and for improving the quality of their lives. In order to improve overall survival, novel treatment strategies that prolong the androgen-dependent state and that are useful for androgen-independent disease based on specific molecular mechanisms need to be identified.
2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.