Introduction: Prostate Cancer – the androgen receptor takes centre stage


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Malcolm Mason
Cardiff University, UK

Abstract

Prostate cancer has long been known to be driven by androgens. The success of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in advanced disease is undisputed, with profound clinical responses in the vast majority of patients. The emergence of what used to be termed ‘hormone-refractory disease' was the major limitation of ADT, and the obvious conclusion was that prostate cancer found ways to bypass the need for an androgen drive. The extraordinary developments of the last few years have shown how simplistic and how wrong this notion was, and, far from being ‘androgen resistant, many prostate cancers are ‘androgen super-sensitive', able to synthesise, and respond to extremely low levels of androgen. This paradigm shift has put the androgen receptor even more into the limelight, and in this session we will be exploring three aspects related to it. Professor Craig Robson will speak about novel data on androgen receptor regulation. Professor Ian Mills will speak on the influence of the androgen receptor on metabolic regulation. Finally, Dr Gert Attard will speak on the translational and clinical aspects of our new understanding of androgen receptor biology and new agents. While it should not be forgotten that there are other biological targets for prostate cancer besides the androgen receptor, it seems clear that whatever combinations of treatment are given, the role and manipulation of the androgen receptor will remain pivotal to future success. This session brings together three of the leading investigators in this field, and will be lively!