Bladder cancer is three times more common in men than in women. However, the physiological basis of the male predominance of bladder cancer remains poorly understood. A higher than expected association of prostate and bladder cancers has also been reported which may indicate a common mechanism of carcinogenesis. Consistent with this, androgens and the androgen receptor (AR) play essential roles in prostate carcinogenesis and are believed to play a role in bladder carcinogenesis. There is also evidence implicating cancer stem cells in prostate and bladder cancers. Indeed putative prostate and bladder cancer stem cells share some common molecular features. We highlight key proteins (CD49f, CD133, PTEN, CD44) which are implicated in both prostate and bladder cancers and are enriched in putative prostate and bladder cancer stem cells. We examine published chromatin immuno-precipitation studies analyzing the genome-wide distribution of the AR to identify AR association with, and by inference potential AR-regulation of, these loci. We discuss recent evidence indicating a role for the AR in the splicing of the key urological stem cell protein CD44. We propose a model whereby aberrant AR regulation of these putative stem cell proteins contributes to malignant transformation of prostate and bladder cells. For these reasons we propose that the relationship between androgens and cancer stem cell associated proteins warrants further investigation.
- Androgen receptor
- Cancer stem cell
- Chromatin immunoprecipitation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research