Targeting the Androgen Receptor: New Hope for Aggressive Forms of Prostate and Breast Cancer

Jane de Lartigue, PhD
Published: Friday, Sep 05, 2014
Although hormone-targeting strategies have been a mainstay of prostate and breast cancer therapies for decades, an improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying these malignancies has led researchers to focus fresh attention on the complex activity of the androgen receptor (AR) as a point of attack.

AR Signaling Networks

AR Signaling Networks

Many cellular processes are activated in AR signaling, with the MAPK and PI3K-Akt pathways, illustrated at right, among the best characterized networks. The process of androgen metabolism through testosterone is shown at left.

AR indicates androgen receptor; ARE, androgen response elements; PIP, phosphatidylinositol phosphate; DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone; DHT, dihydrotestosterone; hsp, heat shock protein; P, phosphorylation. Adapted from Girling JS et al. Pathogenesis of prostate cancer and hormone refractory prostate cancer. Indian J Urol. 2007;23(1):35-42.

A Driving Force for Prostate Cancer

The AR is a member of the nuclear steroid hormone family that also includes the progesterone receptor (PR) and the estrogen receptor (ER). It is responsible for mediating the effects of male hormones, known as androgens, which are synthesized primarily by the testes and play an important role in the development and maintenance of the male reproductive tissues.

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