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W. I. P. MAINWARING

Androgen Physiology Department, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX

INTRODUCTION

It is now 60 years or so since reliable medical records have been kept and, despite dramatic fluctuations in the incidence of certain forms of human cancer, abnormalities in the growth of the prostate gland have consistently been responsible for the third highest proportion of deaths from this disease. As so lucidly described by Dorfman & Shipley (1956) in the histological introduction to their reference treatise, interest in the androgens or, perhaps more accurately, testicular secretions, began through the inquisitiveness of the ancients in sexual potency and fertility rites, continued somewhat intermittently through the Middle Ages and was finally set upon a more scientific plane of enquiry through the classical studies of Pott, Hunter, Berthold and Brown-Séquard. What really emerged from these studies was that testicular secretions were capable of controlling the growth of organs