, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 301-310

Detection of prostate-specific antigen immunoreactivity in breast tumors

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Abstract

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a glycoprotein produced by the epithelial cells of the prostate. PSA is currently used in clinical practice to facilitate diagnosis and monitoring of prostate carcinoma. The prostate is an organ that possesses androgen, estrogen, and progesterone receptors, and in this respect is similar to the breast. We postulated that breast tumors might also have the ability to produce PSA. We performed these studies on a collection of 525 tumor specimens collected for routine biochemical determination of estrogen and progesterone receptors. Using a highly sensitive immunofluorometric procedure, we measured the p53 tumor suppressor gene product and PSA. Twenty nine percent of the breast tumor extracts contained detectable levels of PSA immunoreactivity (> 0.05 µg/L). The immunoreactive PSA content was associated with estrogen and/or progesterone receptor-positive tumors (P < 0.002). No association was found between PSA immunoreactivity and levels of the p53 tumor suppressor gene product (P = 0.37). High performance liquid chromatography and Western blot analysis revealed that the PSA immunoreactivity in the tumor had a molecular weight of 30 kDa, similar to that of seminal PSA. Immunoreactive PSA-positive tumors were associated with younger women (P = 0.012) and earlier disease stage (P = 0.064). We postulate that PSA immunoreactivity may be an additional marker of steroid hormone receptor-ligand action.