The role of androgen receptor signaling pathways in bladder cancer
Urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder (UBC) is one of the most common types of malignancies of the genitourinary tract. Patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer usually progress into locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. There has been a lack of treatment options for these types of advanced bladder cancers over the last few decades. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify a novel therapeutic target for advanced UBC. Although androgen receptor (AR) signaling plays a crucial role in prostate cancer biology, it is significantly associated with tumor outgrowth and progression in patients with other solid tumors, such as lung, colorectal and bladder cancers. Particularly, UBC patients show distinct features according to sex discrepancy, and different sex hormone environments have been regarded as a potential underlying mechanism. In this regard, we review the currently available data for the role of the AR signaling pathway in carcinogenesis, tumor progression and oncological outcomes of bladder cancer. Furthermore, we summarize the recent evidence on the therapeutic potential of AR targeting drugs in patients with UBC. Although precise mechanisms in the involvement of AR in the biology of UBC are not fully understood, we believe that AR targeted therapy can be a novel and promising strategy for chemoprevention and treatment of patients with UBC in the near future.