Molecular Profiles of Finasteride Effects on Prostate Carcinogenesis
Our inability to distinguish between low-grade prostate cancers that pose no threat and those that can kill compels newly diagnosed early prostate cancer patients to make decisions that may negatively affect their lives needlessly for years afterward. To reliably stratify patients into different risk categories and apply appropriate treatment, we need a better molecular understanding of prostate cancer progression. Androgen ablation therapy and 5- reductase inhibitors reduce dihydrotestosterone levels and increase apoptosis. Because of the differing biological potentials of tumor cells, however, these treatments may, in some cases, worsen outcome by selecting for or inducing adaptation of stronger androgen receptor signaling pathways. Reduced dihydrotestosterone also may be associated with altered survival pathways. Complicating treatment effects further, molecular adaptation may be accelerated by interactions between epithelial and stromal cells. The hypothesis that early prostate cancer cells with differing biological potential may respond differently to finasteride treatment is worth testing. Ongoing studies using a systems biology approach in a preoperative prostate cancer setting are testing this hypothesis toward developing more-rational clinical interventions.