Purpose: We investigate potential associations of serum testosterone with microvessel density, androgen receptor expression and AR gene polymorphism in men with untreated prostate cancer.
Material and methods: Serum luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, estradiol and testosterone were determined in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer. The number of tumor vessels per 0.46 mm. and androgen receptor density (as the percent positive nuclei) were quantified immunohistochemically on prostate cancer areas of prostate biopsy specimens. Polymorphisms within the AR gene (number of CAG repeats) were determined by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using DNA from peripheral blood.
Results: The 39 men entered into this study were grouped into 16 with low (3 ng./ml. or less, group 1) and 23 with normal (greater than 3 ng./ml., group 2) serum testosterone. Mean prostate specific antigen +/- SD was significantly lower in group 1 than in group 2 (18.8 +/- 11.1 versus 27.2 +/- 12.2 ng./ml., p = 0.03). Mean Gleason score (7.4 +/- 1.3 versus 6.0 +/- 1.2, p = 0.01), androgen receptor density (96.6% +/- 2.8% versus 84.8% +/- 7.2%, p = 0.03) and tumor vessel density (63.0 +/- 30.8/0.46 versus 39.0 +/- 22.9/0.46 mm.2, p = 0.007) were significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2. The number of CAG repeats within the AR gene did not correlation with serum androgen.
Conclusions: Low serum testosterone in men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer is associated with higher tumor microvessel and androgen receptor density as well as with higher Gleason score, suggesting enhanced malignant potential.