Classical and Non-Classical Roles for Pre-Receptor Control of DHT Metabolism in Prostate Cancer Progression.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Hormones & cancer (2016)


Androgens play an important role in prostate cancer (PCa) development and progression. Accordingly, androgen deprivation therapy remains the front-line treatment for locally recurrent or advanced PCa, but patients eventually relapse with the lethal form of the disease termed castration resistant PCa (CRPC). Importantly, castration does not eliminate androgens from the prostate tumor microenvironment which is characterized by elevated tissue androgens that are well within the range capable of activating the androgen receptor (AR). In this mini-review, we discuss emerging data that suggest a role for the enzymes mediating pre-receptor control of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) metabolism, including AKR1C2, HSD17B6, HSD17B10, and the UGT family members UGT2B15 and UGT2B17, in controlling intratumoral androgen levels, and thereby influencing PCa progression. We review the expression of steroidogenic enzymes involved in this pathway in primary PCa and CRPC, the activity and regulation of these enzymes in PCa experimental models, and the impact of genetic variation in genes mediating pre-receptor DHT metabolism on PCa risk. Finally, we discuss recent data that suggests several of these enzymes may also play an unrecognized role in CRPC progression separate from their role in androgen inactivation.