Modulatory Actions of Neuropeptide Y on Prostate Cancer Growth: Role of MAP Kinase/ERK 1/2 Activatio

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Neuroendocrine molecules play a significant role in the progression of human prostate cancer (PCa) and its neuroendocrine differentiation has been associated to a worse prognosis. Evidence exists that, among these molecules, the pleiotropic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and the related receptors may play a role in the normal prostate as well as in the progression of human PCa, which represents one of the most common malignant diseases among men in the Western world. The role of NPY in PCa biology appears to vary in different in vitro human PCa cell systems, since it has been found to reduce the proliferation of LNCaP and DU145 cells, but to stimulate the growth of PC3 cells. These effects are mediated mainly by the NPY Y1 receptor and are associated with a clone-specific pattern of intracellular signaling activation, including a peculiar time-course of MAPK/ERK1/2 phosphorylation (long-lasting in DU145 and transient in PC3 cells). In conclusion, several studies support the concept that NPY and the related receptors are overexpressed in PCa and may play a relevant role in PCa progression. The diagnostic and therapeutical value of targeting the NPY system in PCa will be evaluated in future studies.