Differential expression of 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase isozyme genes in prostate cancer and noncancer tissues

Prostate. 2002 Oct 1;53(2):154-9. doi: 10.1002/pros.10139.


Background: The adrenal steroids dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenediones are converted into active androgen testosterone in prostatic tissues. Different 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17betaHSD) isozymes are characterized by either oxidation or reduction reactions. These redox reactions represent an important step in both biosynthesis and metabolism of androgens. This study presents the differential expression of 17betaHSD isozyme genes in cancerous and noncancerous prostate tissues of in vivo samples.

Methods: Thirty-four fresh specimens of transrectal prostatic needle biopsy were obtained; 11 were pathologically diagnosed as adenocarcinoma and 23 as without malignancy. The gene expression levels of five isozymes (type 1-5) of 17betaHSD were evaluated. The quantification of gene expression was assessed by means of the real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Results: The expression levels of the type 3 17betaHSD gene with malignancy were significantly higher than those in prostatic tissues without malignancy, and those of type 2 17betaHSD with malignancy were significantly lower than those in nonmalignant tissues. There were no significant differences in 17betaHSD type 1, type 4, and type 5 gene expression in cancerous and noncancerous tissues.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that 17betaHSD type 2 and type 3 play an important role in the conversion of adrenal steroids into potential androgens in prostate cancer tissue.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / biosynthesis*
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / enzymology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / biosynthesis
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / chemistry
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • 3 (or 17)-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase