E-cadherin and beta-catenin are down-regulated in prostatic bone metastases

BJU Int. 2002 Mar;89(4):400-3. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-4096.2001.01712.x.


Objective: To determine the E-cadherin and beta-catenin expression phenotype in untreated primary prostate cancer and corresponding bone metastases.

Materials and methods: Paired bone metastasis and primary prostate specimens were obtained from 14 men with untreated metastatic prostate carcinoma. The tumours were histologically graded by an independent pathologist. Expression of mRNA for E-cadherin and beta-catenin was detected within the tumour cells using in-situ hybridization with a 35S-labelled cDNA probe. The expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin were graded as uniform, heterogeneous or negative.

Results: The mRNA for E-cadherin was expressed in 13 of 14 primary carcinomas and 11 bone metastases; beta-catenin was expressed by 13 and nine, respectively. Of the primary tumours, nine expressed E-cadherin and beta-catenin uniformly; in contrast, all metastases had down-regulated E-cadherin and/or beta-catenin.

Conclusions: The down-regulation of E-cadherin and beta-catenin are a feature of the metastatic phenotype, which may be a significant factor in the genesis of bone metastases. However, this does not appear to be reflected in the expression of these molecules in the primary tumours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators*
  • beta Catenin


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin