Indian J Urol. 2020 Jul-Sep;36(3):171-178. doi: 10.4103/iju.IJU_320_19. Epub 2020 Jul 1.
Studies on the clinical profile of urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) have shown significant gender differences, namely, higher occurrence in males (male-to-female ratio of 3.5:1) and an advanced stage of disease at the time of diagnosis with rapid progression of the disease after initial diagnosis seen more commonly in females. The relationship between gender and UBC is complex and probably influenced by biological and epidemiological factors. Potential contributory factors such as sex steroid hormone pathway, gender difference in environmental carcinogen exposure, metabolic enzyme activity, and disparities in the intensity of diagnostic evaluation could probably explain the demographic trends in UBC. This comprehensive review of Medline publications during the period 2009-2019 attempts to identify the possible role of sex hormone receptors in gender variation and sexual dimorphism in the occurrence and progression of UBC. The clinical implications of identifying sex steroid receptors on factors such as disease prognostication and the therapeutic role of anti-androgens in the prevention and progression of UBC are critically reviewed. There is now significant evidence in literature to suggest the possible role of sex steroid hormone receptor-mediated signals in the genesis and progression of UBC. These receptors include androgen receptors, estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and various other orphan receptors. Excessive or reduced expression of these receptors, as well as alterations in their upstream or downstream pathways, correlate well with the clinical and therapeutic outcomes of UBC.