BACKGROUND. Although anti-angiogenic therapy is a promising new line of therapy for prostate cancer, we recently reported that stable expression of endostatin arrested the progression of prostate cancer to poorly differentiated state and distant metastasis in TRAMP mice. However, the same therapy failed to provide any benefit when given either during or after the onset of metastatic switch. The present study determined the possible mechanisms behind the selective advantage of endostatin therapy in early-stage disease. METHODS. Angiogenesis-related gene expression analysis was performed to identify target genes and molecular pathways involved in the therapy effects. Based on the results from in vivo studies, and recapitulation of the in vivo data in vitro using tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic human prostate cancer cells that are either androgen-sensitive or androgen-independent, analyses of possible mechanisms of the selective advantage of early treatment were performed using assays for cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and cell signaling. The identified mechanisms were further confirmed in vivo. RESULTS. Results indicated that cells with high androgen receptor (AR) expression were more sensitive to endostatin treatment than androgen-independent cells with low or no AR expression. Endostatin was found to significantly downregulate the expression of growth factors, receptor tyrosine kinases, proteases, andARboth in vitro and in vivo only when the cells express high-levels of AR. Cell proliferation was not influenced by endostatin treatment but migration was significantly affected only in androgen-sensitive cells. Targeted downregulation of AR prior to endostatin treatment in androgen-sensitive cells and overexpression of AR in androgen-independent cells indicated that the effect of endostatin via AR downregulation is mediated by a non-genotropic mechanism on Ras and RhoA pathways, and independently of AR on MAPK/ERK pathway. CONCLUSIONS. These data indicate that systemically stable endostatin expression delays the onset of metastatic switch by acting on multiple pathways involving AR. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.