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The Prostate Supplement 8:1 (1998)
INTRODUCTION
The task of writing an introduction for this important group of papers focusing on neuroendocrine (NE)
cells in the prostate is a challenging assignment. The
list of authors is impressive. Most of the contributors
are from centers outside the United States. Europe has
an impressive list of authors which includes: Prof.
Helmut Bonkhoff, M.D.; Prof. Jack Schalken, Ph.D.;
Per-Anders Abrahamsson, M.D., Ph.D.; and Prof.
Olivier Cussenot from Paris. Dr. Masatsugu Iwamura
and Prof. Ken Koshiba are from Japan. We are grateful
for the contributions of Dr. Armen Aprikian, M.D.,
from the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute. We are also pleased with the contribution by Dr.
Leonard J. Deftos, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego. He encouraged our
Rochester group to pursue a group of research studies
focusing on NE cells in the prostate.
Dr. Anthony di Sant’Agnese, Professor of Pathology, was an early enthusiast who prodded our urologic faculty and residents to enlarge our focus beyond the epithelial cells in the prostate. Per-Anders
Abrahamsson, while on a sabbatical year in Rochester,
also helped the urology staff by encouraging basic research focusing on the role of NE cells in BPH and
cancer.
My colleagues asked me to be the primary author of
a paper entitled ‘‘The Role of Neuroendocrine Cells in
BPH.’’ We learned that the large nodule (greater than
4 cm) is relatively inactive in terms of NE cell activity.
Small nodules, however, grow and become obstructive due in large part to cross-signaling between NE
cells and epithelial cells.
The role of NE cells is still unclear in early prostate
cancer and BPH. We believe that research funds will
be needed to expand research in this important area.
At this time there seems to be interest in the enlarging
role of NE cells. The NIDDK has scheduled an important meeting at the National Institutes of Health focusing on the ‘‘International Biology of Prostate
© 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Growth’’ in March 1998. We believe that this conference will bring together investigators who champion
classical pathways of prostatic hyperplasia. We also
expect that some abstracts will focus on NE cells.
Many of us believe that the broad range of activities
enhanced by NE cells needs to be reassessed in the
next 5–10 years, as more specific roles of epithelialneuroendocrine cell interaction are clarified.
This special issue of The Prostate focuses on ‘‘Neuroendocrine Cells in the Prostate.’’ Established investigators with expertise in this area have contributed
their latest work. A number of authors from Europe
updated their research for this issue of the Journal.
Investigators in the United States have also made significant contributions in this special issue. The authors
or co-authors of these manuscripts from overseas are
continuing their research. Dr. Masatsugu Iwamura
from Kitasato University in Japan was a very productive contributor in our research laboratory. PerAnders Abrahamsson was an effective team leader in
our Department of Urology. He encouraged a group
of young investigators who later published their work
in various urological journals.
Finally, I would personally like to thank Prof.
Chung Lee and his colleagues from the Urology Department of Northwestern University. He has written
a comprehensive paper focusing on prostate innervation. The classical growth factors require innervation
and interaction with the epithelial cells. Dr. Chung Lee
also suggests that the cross-signaling between epithelial cells and NE cells is important. We believe this
important interaction and reaction in both directions
needs further documentation and clarification.
Abraham T.K. Cockett, M.D.
Department of Urology
University of Rochester Medical Center
Rochester, New York
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