OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that transgenic mouse models of prostate cancer could be useful for testing chemoprevention strategies by evaluating the effects of early castration on prostate carcinogenesis in TRAMP mice. Human prostate cancer, unlike other cancers, requires androgens for oncogenesis yet acquires partial androgen independence in the castrated milieu. This paradigm is the basis for an ongoing clinical trial using selective androgen deprivation for prostate cancer chemoprevention. However, preclinical correlates for hormonal prevention or other chemoprevention strategies of prostate cancer have not previously been demonstrated in autochthonous models of prostate carcinogenesis. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging was used to longitudinally measure prostate growth in castrated and noncastrated TRAMP mice, and mice were prospectively examined for the onset of advanced, palpable prostate cancer. Modulation of androgen-responsive oncogene expression, as well as oncogene expression in refractory cancers, was evaluated by Western blot. RESULTS: Early castration significantly reduced prostate tumor growth as measured by magnetic resonance imaging and improved cancer-free survival. Prevention of prostate cancer development in these mice was associated with durable suppression of androgen-responsive oncogene expression (T-antigen expression not detectable by Western blot); prostate cancers refractory to the hormonal prevention strategy demonstrated androgen-independent oncogene expression. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that carcinogenesis related to androgen-responsive oncogene expression can be prevented in some cases by hormonal manipulation and that transgenic TRAMP mice are useful for the preclinical evaluation of hormonal and possibly other strategies of prostate cancer chemoprevention.
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