Background: Molecular markers identifying alterations in proliferation and apoptotic pathways could be particularly important in characterizing high-risk normal or pre-neoplastic tissue. We evaluated the following markers: Ki67, Minichromosome Maintenance Protein-2 (Mcm-2), activated caspase-3 (a-casp3) and Bcl-2 to determine if they showed differential expression across progressive degrees of intraepithelial neoplasia and cancer in the prostate. To identify field effects, we also evaluated whether high-risk expression patterns in normal tissue were more common in prostates containing cancer compared to those without cancer (supernormal), and in histologically normal glands adjacent to a cancer focus as opposed to equivalent glands that were more distant. Methods: The aforementioned markers were studied in 13 radical prostatectomy (RP) and 6 cystoprostatectomy (CP) specimens. Tissue compartments representing normal, low grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (LGPIN), high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), as well as different grades of cancer were mapped on H&E slides and adjacent sections were analyzed using immunohistochemistry. Normal glands within 1 mm distance of a tumor focus and glands beyond 5 mm were considered "near" and "far", respectively. Randomly selected nuclei and 40 × fields were scored by a single observer; basal and luminal epithelial layers were scored separately. Results: Both Ki-67 and Mcm-2 showed an upward trend from normal tissue through HGPIN and cancer with a shift in proliferation from basal to luminal compartment. Activated caspase-3 showed a significant decrease in HGPIN and cancer compartments. Supernormal glands had significantly lower proliferation indices and higher a-casp3 expression compared to normal glands. "Near" normal glands had higher Mcm-2 indices compared to "far" glands; however, they also had higher a-casp3 expression. Bcl-2, which varied minimally in normal tissue, did not show any trend across compartments or evidence for field effects. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that proliferation and apoptosis are altered not only in preneoplastic lesions but also in apparently normal looking epithelium associated with cancer. Luminal cell expression of Mcm-2 appears to be particularly promising as a marker of high-risk normal epithelium. The role of apoptotic markers such as activated caspase-3 is more complex, and might depend on the proliferation status of the tissue in question.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research