Prostate cancer dormancy and reactivation in bone marrow

Deepak K. Singh, Vaibhav G. Patel, William K. Oh, Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prostate cancer has a variable clinical course, ranging from curable local disease to lethal metastatic spread. Eradicating metastatic cells is a unique challenge that is rarely met with the available therapies. Thus, targeting prostate cancer cells in earlier disease states is a crucial window of opportunity. Interestingly, cancer cells migrate from their primary site during pre-cancerous and malignant phases to seed secondary organs. These cells, known as disseminated cancer cells (DCCs), may remain dormant for months or decades before activating to form metastases. Bone marrow, a dormancy-permissive site, is the major organ for housed DCCs and eventual metastases in prostate cancer. The dynamic interplay between DCCs and the primary tumor microenvironment (TME), as well as that between DCCs and the secondary organ niche, controls the conversion between states of dormancy and activation. Here, we discuss recent discoveries that have improved our understanding of dormancy signaling and the role of the TME in modulating the epigenetic reprogramming of DCCs. We offer potential strategies to target DCCs in prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2648
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Azacytidine
  • Bone marrow
  • Dormancy
  • Microenvironment
  • Prostate cancer
  • Retinoic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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