Purpose: We determined the role of endothelin receptors in prostate cancer progression.
Materials and methods: We examined 51 prostate cancer specimens obtained at surgery or biopsy for the relationship of endothelin receptor expression determined by immunohistochemical staining with malignant potential.
Results: The positive staining rate of endothelin receptor A in the 51 specimens was significantly higher than of endothelin B (71% versus 24%, p <0.0001). The staining rate of receptor A in Gleason score 5 to 10 disease was significantly higher than in Gleason 2 to 4 disease (91% versus 29%, p <0.0001). The overall staining rate of endothelin receptor A in nonorgan confined disease without bone metastasis but with extraprostatic disease was 87% in 23 cases, including 16 of 19 stage T3 (84%) and all 4 stage T4 (100%) cases. This rate was significantly higher than that of organ confined cancer (29%, p = 0.0003). All patients with bone metastasis had positive staining for endothelin receptor A. An especially high rate of intensely positive staining was observed for endothelin receptor A in biopsy specimens with bone metastasis or Gleason sum 8 to 10. Moreover, positive staining was stronger in cancer cells penetrating the prostatic capsule than in those at the primary foci. However, the positive staining rate of endothelin receptor B was not significantly different in organ and nonorgan confined cancer without bone metastasis (12% versus 26%, p = 0.4284), bone metastatic and nonmetastatic cancer (20% versus 36%, p = 0.2619) or the Gleason sum groups (p = 0.0874).
Conclusions: Our results indicate that endothelin receptor A expression may serve as a marker for and have an important role in prostate cancer progression.