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The Interactions between Insulin and Androgens in Progression to Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Advances in Urology
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1155/2012/248607
  • Review Article
  • Medicine


An association between the metabolic syndrome and reduced testosterone levels has been identified, and a specific inverse relationship between insulin and testosterone levels suggests that an important metabolic crosstalk exists between these two hormonal axes; however, the mechanisms by which insulin and androgens may be reciprocally regulated are not well described. Androgen-dependant gene pathways regulate the growth and maintenance of both normal and malignant prostate tissue, and androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) in patients exploits this dependence when used to treat recurrent and metastatic prostate cancer resulting in tumour regression. A major systemic side effect of ADT includes induction of key features of the metabolic syndrome and the consistent feature of hyperinsulinaemia. Recent studies have specifically identified a correlation between elevated insulin and high-grade PCa and more rapid progression to castrate resistant disease. This paper examines the relationship between insulin and androgens in the context of prostate cancer progression. Prostate cancer patients present a promising cohort for the exploration of insulin stabilising agents as adjunct treatments for hormone deprivation or enhancers of chemosensitivity for treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

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