Benign Prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa) are the most common prostatic disorders affecting elderly men. Multiple factors including hormonal imbalance, disruption of cell proliferation, apoptosis, chronic inflammation, and aging are thought to be responsible for the pathophysiology of these diseases. Both BPH and PCa are considered to be arisen from aberrant proliferation of prostate stem cells. Recent studies on BPH and PCa have provided significant evidence for the origin of these diseases from stem cells that share characteristics with normal prostate stem cells. Aberrant changes in prostate stem cell regulatory factors may contribute to the development of BPH or PCa. Understanding these regulatory factors may provide insight into the mechanisms that convert quiescent adult prostate cells into proliferating compartments and lead to BPH or carcinoma. Ultimately, the knowledge of the unique prostate stem or stem-like cells in the pathogenesis and development of hyperplasia will facilitate the development of new therapeutic targets for BPH and PCa. In this review, we address recent progress towards understanding the putative role and complexities of stem cells in the development of BPH and PCa.
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