• Estradiol;
  • prostate cancer;
  • hormonal carcinogenesis

Abstract Androgens have long been known to be the major sex hormones that target the prostate during development, maturation, and carcinogenesis. It is now apparent that estrogens, both those synthesized by the body as well as those from our environment, also target the prostate during all stages of development. Little is known about the mechanisms involved in estrogen stimulation of carcinogenesis and less is known about how to prevent or treat prostate cancer through estrogenic pathways. To better understand how estrogens mediate their carcinogenic effects, the respective roles of estrogen receptor (ER)-α and ER-β must be elucidated in the epithelial and stromal cells that constitute the prostate. Lastly, the significance of ER signaling during various ontogenic periods must be determined. Answers to these questions will further our understanding of the mechanisms of estrogen/ER signaling and will serve as a basis for chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic strategies for prostate cancer.