Prostatic cancers: understanding their molecular pathology and the 2016 WHO classification

Kentaro Inamura _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:14723-14737. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24515

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Kentaro Inamura1

1Division of Pathology, The Cancer Institute; Department of Pathology, The Cancer Institute Hospital, Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, 3-8-31 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8550, Japan

Correspondence to:

Kentaro Inamura, email: [email protected]

Keywords: genetic alteration; histology; molecular pathological epidemiology; prostate cancer; The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)

Received: September 11, 2017     Accepted: February 12, 2018     Epub: February 16, 2018     Published: March 06, 2018


Accumulating evidence suggests that prostatic cancers represent a group of histologically and molecularly heterogeneous diseases with variable clinical courses. In accordance with the increased knowledge of their clinicopathologies and genetics, the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of prostatic cancers has been revised. Additionally, recent data on their comprehensive molecular characterization have increased our understanding of the genomic basis of prostatic cancers and enabled us to classify them into subtypes with distinct molecular pathologies and clinical features. Our increased understanding of the molecular pathologies of prostatic cancers has permitted their evolution from a poorly understood, heterogeneous group of diseases with variable clinical courses to characteristic molecular subtypes that allow the implementation of personalized therapies and better patient management. This review provides perspectives on the new 2016 WHO classification of prostatic cancers as well as recent knowledge of their molecular pathologies. The WHO classification of prostatic cancers will require additional revisions to allow for reliable and clinically meaningful cancer diagnoses as a better understanding of their molecular characteristics is obtained.

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