Estrogen receptor beta in prostate cancer: friend or foe?
Nelson AW, Tilley WD, Neal DE, Carroll J. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2014 Jan 8. [Epub ahead of print]

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A Nelson, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB20RE, United Kingdom.


Prostate cancer is the commonest, non-cutaneous cancer in men. At present, there is no cure for the advanced, castration-resistant form of the disease. Estrogen has been shown to be important in prostate carcinogenesis with evidence resulting from epidemiological, cancer cell-line, human tissue and animal studies. The prostate expresses both estrogen receptor alpha and estrogen receptor beta. Most evidence suggests that estrogen receptor alpha mediates the harmful effects of estrogen in the prostate whereas estrogen receptor beta is tumour-suppressive, but trials of estrogen receptor beta-selective agents have not translated into improved clinical outcomes. The role of estrogen receptor beta in the prostate remains unclear and there is increasing evidence that isoforms of estrogen receptor beta may be oncogenic. Detailed study of estrogen receptor beta and estrogen receptor beta isoforms in the prostate is required to establish their cell-specific roles, in order to determine if therapies can be directed towards estrogen receptor beta-dependent pathways. In this review we summarise evidence on the role of estrogen receptor beta in prostate cancer and highlight areas for future research.