Targeting 5α-reductase for prostate cancer prevention and treatment - Abstract

Department of Urology Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Testosterone is the most abundant circulating androgen, and can be converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent androgen, by the 5α-reductase enzymes in target tissues. Current treatments for prostate cancer consist of reducing androgen levels by chemical or surgical castration or pure antiandrogen therapy that directly targets the androgen receptor (AR). Although these therapies reduce tumor burden and AR activity, the cancer inevitably recurs within 18-30 months. An approach targeting the androgen-AR axis at different levels could, therefore, improve the efficacy of prostate cancer therapy. Inhibition of 5α-reductase is one such approach; however, the two largest trials to investigate the use of the 5α-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) finasteride and dutasteride in patients with prostate cancer have shown that, although the incidence of cancer was reduced by 5ARI treatment, those cancers that were detected were more aggressive than in patients treated with placebo. Thus, the best practice for using these drugs to prevent and treat prostate cancer remains unclear.

Written by:
Nacusi LP, Tindall DJ.   Are you the author?

Reference: Nat Rev Urol. 2011 May 31. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2011.67

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21629218 Prostate Cancer Section