Aging of the progenitor cells that initiate prostate cancer

Cancer Lett. 2021 Sep 1;515:28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2021.05.014. Epub 2021 May 28.


Many organs experience a loss of tissue mass and a decline in regenerative capacity during aging. In contrast, the prostate continues to grow in volume. In fact, age is the most important risk factor for prostate cancer. However, the age-related factors that influence the composition, morphology and molecular features of prostate epithelial progenitor cells, the cells-of-origin for prostate cancer, are poorly understood. Here, we review the evidence that prostate luminal progenitor cells are expanded with age. We explore the age-related changes to the microenvironment that may influence prostate epithelial cells and risk of transformation. Finally, we raise a series of questions about models of aging and regulators of prostate aging which need to be addressed. A fundamental understanding of aging in the prostate will yield critical insights into mechanisms that promote the development of age-related prostatic disease.

Keywords: Epithelium; Microenvironment; Mutations; Old; Organoid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stem Cells / pathology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology