Cancer stem cells in prostate adenocarcinoma: a target for new anticancer strategies

J Cell Physiol. 2008 Sep;216(3):571-5. doi: 10.1002/jcp.21493.


Prostate cancer (PC) is major common malignancy in males in most industrialized Western countries, where it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting men after middle age (>50 years). Over 90% of PC patients with incurable disease respond to primary treatment, which consists of intervention to lower serum testosterone. However, the duration of response is short (12-33 months) and in almost all patients, is followed by the emergence of a phenotype resistant to androgen deprivation in therapy (known as hormone or androgen-resistant PC). Considerable research efforts have been directed towards the identification of markers associated with the initiation and progression of PC, yet there is little consensus about the target cell within prostate epithelium that is susceptible to malignant transformation. Stem cells may represent a major target for mutations leading to cancer as their longevity assures continued presence during the long latency between carcinogenic agents exposure and cancer development. Therefore in order to allow the development of more effective treatment strategies for PC, a better understanding of the molecular changes that underlie cancer stem cells is required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostate / physiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers