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Prostate cancer stem cells

      Abstract

      Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. Despite recent advances in the detection of early prostate cancer there is little effective therapy for patients with locally advanced and/or metastatic disease. The majority of patients with advanced disease respond initially to androgen ablation therapy. However, most go on to develop androgen-independent tumours that inevitably are fatal. A similar response is seen to chemotherapeutic and radiotherapy treatments. As a result, metastatic prostate cancer remains an incurable disease by current treatment strategies. Recent reports of cancer stem cells have prompted questions regarding the involvement of normal stem/progenitor cells in prostate tumour biology, their potential contribution to the tumour itself and whether they are the cause of tumour initiation and progression. Although still controversial, the cancer stem cell is likely to be the most crucial target in the treatment of prostate cancer, and a thorough understanding of its biology, particularly of how the cancer stem cell differs from the normal stem cell, might allow it to be targeted selectively and eliminated, thus improving therapeutic outcome.

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