In touch with your feminine side: how oestrogen metabolism impacts prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the primary male cancer with increasing global incidence rates making this malignancy a significant healthcare burden. Androgens promote normal prostate maturity but also influence the development and progression of prostate cancer. Intriguingly, evidence now suggests endogenous and exogenous oestrogens, in the form of phytoestrogens, may be equally as relevant as androgens in prostate cancer growth. The prostate gland has the molecular mechanisms, catalysed by steroid sulphatase (STS), to unconjugate and utilise circulating oestrogens. Furthermore, prostate tissue also expresses enzymes essential for local oestrogen metabolism, including aromatase (CYP19A1) and 3β- and 17α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases. Increased expression of these enzymes in malignant prostate tissue compared to normal prostate indicates oestrogen synthesis is favoured in malignancy and thus may influence tumour progression. In contrast to previous reviews, here we comprehensively explore the epidemiological and scientific evidence on how oestrogens impact prostate cancer, particularly focusing on pre-receptor oestrogen metabolism and subsequent molecular action. We analyse how molecular mechanisms and metabolic pathways involved in androgen and oestrogen synthesis intertwine to alter prostate tissue. Furthermore, we speculate on whether oestrogen receptor status in the prostate affects progression of this malignancy.

Endocrine-related cancer. 2016 May 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Habibur P Rahman, Johannes Hofland, Paul A Foster

H Rahman, Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, Birmingham University, Birmingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland., J Hofland, Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands., P Foster, Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, Birmingham University, Birmingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland .

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