Johannes D. Veldhuis, MD


March 15, 2000

In This Article

Endocrine Aspects of the Aging Prostate

Prostate volume increases progressively with age in eugonadal men. Albeit androgen-dependent, this propensity is also modulated by unknown environmental and genetic factors. Estradiol, IGF-I, IGF-II, fibroblast, and keratinocyte growth factors act locally to promote prostate epithelial and stromal growth. The number of cytosine, adenine, and guanine (CAG) repeats in the androgen-receptor gene may also correlate with intense prostate growth.[27]

Approximately 180,000 men are newly diagnosed with prostatic cancer each year, and 37,000 others die annually from this neoplasm. Occult prostate cancers are detectable in approximately 25% of men under age 40. The incidence is nearly 50% higher in African Americans, possibly because of the contribution of higher perinatal testosterone concentrations and other poorly defined genetic factors. Differences in 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity and adult testosterone concentrations do not explain this phenomenon.