Hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells express functional follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR)

J Urol. 1999 Mar;161(3):970-6.


Purpose: Understanding growth regulation in hormone-refractory prostate cancer may provide avenues for novel treatment interventions. This study was conducted to characterize the expression of the receptor (FSHR) for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines and in human malignant prostate tissues.

Materials and methods: Western blotting, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and flow cytometric analysis were used to study the expression of FSHR. The effect of FSH on cell growth and clonogenicity was studied using proliferation and clonogenic assays.

Results: Immunohistochemistry revealed expression of FSH in PC3 and Du145 cells. FSHR was identified in PC3 and Du145 cells, as well as in human adenocarcinoma of the prostate. The specificity of the FSHR detected on prostate cancer tissues or cells by IHC and Western blotting was confirmed by preabsorbing the antibodies with the immunizing antigens. Stimulation of these hormone-refractory cells with FSH triggered a proliferative response in vitro, suggesting that the receptor is biologically active.

Conclusion: Hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells express FSH and biologically active FSHR. Our results suggest that FSHR and its ligand may play a role in the regulation of the growth of hormone-refractory prostate cancers.

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, FSH / biosynthesis*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Receptors, FSH