Clinical implications of neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2007;10(1):6-14. doi: 10.1038/sj.pcan.4500922. Epub 2006 Oct 31.


The cellular signaling pathways of the prostate play a central role in the induction, maintenance, and progression of prostate cancer (CaP). Neuroendocrine (NE) cells demonstrate attributes that suggest they are an integral part of these signaling cascades. We summarize what is known regarding NE cells in CaP focusing on NE cellular transdifferentiation. This significant event in CaP progression appears to be accelerated by androgen deprivation (AD) treatment. We examine biochemical pathways that may impact NE differentiation in a chronological manner focusing on AD therapy (ADT) as a central event in inducing androgen-independent CaP. Our analysis is limited to the common adenocarcinoma pattern of CaP and excludes small-cell and carcinoid prostatic variants. In conclusion, we speculate on the future of treatment and research in this area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / therapy
  • Neurosecretory Systems / cytology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy