Drug insight: role of the androgen receptor in the development and progression of prostate cancer

Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2007 Apr;4(4):236-44. doi: 10.1038/ncponc0765.


Functional androgen receptor (AR) signaling is necessary for the development of prostate cancer. The therapeutic effect of androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer was described over 60 years ago and this treatment remains the mainstay of systemic therapy despite its transient response duration. It has become clear that AR expression and signaling remains intact as the disease evolves from androgen-sensitive cancer to classically (but perhaps inaccurately) termed hormone refractory prostate cancer. Through several genetic and epigenetic adaptations, prostate tumors continue to rely on AR growth signaling and they thus remain targets of 'hormonal' therapy. The development of new strategies and drugs that can abrogate AR signaling will probably result in important clinical benefits. The biology of androgen independence and the development of new approaches targeting AR signaling are reviewed herein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Receptors, Androgen