Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in men. In the initial stages, prostate cancer is dependent on androgens for growth, which is the basis for androgen ablation therapy. However, in most cases, prostate cancer progresses to a hormone refractory phenotype for which there is no effective therapy available at present. The androgen receptor (AR) is required for prostate cancer growth in all stages, including the relapsed, "androgen-independent" tumors in the presence of very low levels of androgens. This review focuses on AR function and AR-target genes and summarizes the major signaling pathways implicated in prostate cancer progression, their crosstalk with each other and with AR signaling. This complex network of interactions is providing a deeper insight into prostate carcinogenesis and may form the basis for novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc