A Role for Estrogen Receptor and the Estrogen-Regulated Protease Cathepsin D in Stromally-Driven Prostatic Carcinogenesis
Stromal-epithelial interactions are important in development and cancer of the prostate. During carcinoma evolution, the stroma surrounding the nascent tumor undergoes phenotypic alterations that have been shown to enhance the invasive potential of the epithelial tumor. These stromal-epithelial interactions are mediated, in a large part, by paracrine signaling between epithelial tumor cells and neighboring stromal fibroblasts. My research focuses on how activation of steroid hormone receptors in stromal fibroblasts promotes the release of factors that modify the local microenvironment promoting tumorigenesis in the adjacent epithelium. The stromal phenotype has been shown to be a powerful prognostic indicator of cancer progression and of patient death underlining their importance in defining lethal versus indolent phenotypes.