Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed tumor in industrialized countries. Endocrine therapy, which is based on interference with androgen signaling is only palliative. Drugs used in prostate cancer therapy are luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists and antiandrogens. Application of LHRH agonists leads to suppression of the levels of circulating androgens, and antiandrogens block the function of the androgen receptor (AR). The steroidal antiandrogen cyproterone acetate and nonsteroidal compounds hydroxyflutamide and bicalutamide are used most frequently. They prevent acquisition of a transcriptionally active conformation of the AR. It became clear that tumors progress to therapy resistance in the presence of the AR which might be structurally altered. These mutations generate receptors that respond to other steroids and antiandrogens by increased activation. In addition, AR expression increases during endocrine treatment. AR is also activated by nonsteroidal compounds such as growth factors, interleukin-6, and neuropeptides. Therefore, new experimental approaches are needed to antagonize AR expression and function more efficiently. The AR associates with a number of proteins, coactivators and corepressors. There are indications that expression of some of these proteins is altered in prostate cancer, a fact which might be important for improvement of endocrine therapy.
Keywords: Antiandrogens, luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH), nonsteroidal, corepressors, proteins
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