, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 181-187

Variation of prostate-specific antigen expression in different tumour growth patterns present in prostatectomy specimens

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A series of 55 randomly chosen radical prostatectomy specimens was analyzed for expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) by immunohistochemical techniques. Tissue sections were selected in such a manner that in addition to glandular benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), one or more different prostatic tumour growth patterns were present. Four monoclonal antibodies, directed against three different PSA epitopes, and one polyclonal anti-PSA antiserum were used. Expression of PSA was compared with that of prostate-specific acid phosphatase (PAP), recognized by two different polyclonal antisera. A critical dilution aimed at a maximum of staining intensity on BPH tissue sections was chosen for all antibodies. Anti-PSA and anti-PAP antisera stained essentially all BPH samples (over 90%). Irrespective of the nature of the antibodies used, PSA expression was found to be decreased in prostatic carcinoma. A clear cut relationship was found between immunoreactivity for PSA and the degree of differentiation of the tumour area. Under the experimental conditions used the PSA monoclonal antibodies stained only 1 out of 10 undifferentiated carcinomas, whereas 50% to 70% of the well- and moderately-differentiated carcinomas showed immunoreactivity. This correlation was less pronounced with the PAP staining pattern. If the PSA antibody titer was raised the percentage of clearly staining undifferentiated carcinomas could be considerably increased (up to 60%–100%), indicating that PSA expression is not absent, but lowered in most (if not all) undifferentiated carcinomas.