Function and molecular mechanisms of neuroendocrine cells in prostate cancer.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Benign prostate contains luminal epithelial cells, basal cells and a minor component of neuroendocrine cells whose function may be to regulate the growth, differentiation and secretory function of the prostate gland. Neuroendocrine (NE) cells are also present in prostate cancer (PC), and many studies have shown that their number increases in high-grade and high-stage tumors, particularly in hormonally treated and hormone-refractory (androgen independent) PC. Unlike the non-neuroendocrine secretory-type PC cells, NE cells lack androgen receptor and are likely androgen independent. Therefore it is conceivable that hormonal therapy for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer, which consists of inhibiting androgen production or blocking androgen function, will not eliminate NE cancer cells. Instead, these cells may be enriched after the therapy and they may establish paracrine networks to stimulate androgen-independent proliferation of PC, leading to tumor recurrence. This article reviews the major functions of NE cells in PC, including stimulation of cancer proliferation and invasion, apoptosis resistance and angiogenesis. It also discusses molecular pathways involved in NE differentiation and the effectors of the NE cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Huang, J; Wu, C; di Sant'Agnese, PA; Yao, JL; Cheng, L; Na, Y

Published Date

  • June 2007

Published In

  • Anal Quant Cytol Histol

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 128 - 138

PubMed ID

  • 17672372


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States