The origin of prostate cancer has yet to be resolved. As a growing number of reports implicate the involvement of multiple genes and signaling pathways, the exact cell population that initiates tumorigenesis remains elusive. Identification of tumor-initiating cells can lead to better-targeted therapies to reduce tumor burden and prolong survival. Accumulating evidence supports that the intermediary basal cells (IBC) of the prostate may be representative of the tumor-initiating cell population, and continued in vitro
and in vivo
studies examining these cells may yield important information regarding the molecular process of transformation and the development of an androgen-independent disease. This review summarizes the growing literature supporting IBCs as tumor-initiating cells and details the putative role oncogenes and growth factor signaling pathways have, in promoting and maintaining the tumor-initiating cell population.
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