Prostate Gland Development and Estrogenic Imprinting
The prostate gland receives a great deal of research interest not because of its physiologic role as a secretory gland for seminal plasma components but rather due to the high incidence of abnormal growth and tumor formation with aging in humans. Currently, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. Additionally, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common benign neoplasia, occurring in ≈50% of men by the age of 60. Despite extensive research, the basis for these high rates of abnormal growth is not understood. It is recognized, however, that steroid hormones play a role in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer and BPH which is the basis for hormonal treatment strategies (Huggins and Hodges, 1941). It is also speculated that early developmental events which are regulated by steroids in the prostate gland may be linked to its predisposition to high rates of disease in adult men (Price, 1963). This review will focus on the potential role of estrogens in imprinting or programming of prostate gland development.
KeywordsAndrogen Receptor Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Prostate Gland Luminal Cell Androgen Receptor Expression
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