Background: It has been suggested that estrogens and their receptors (ERs) may be involved in the development and progression of prostate cancer. To elucidate the significance of these receptors, expression of both ERalpha and ERbeta was measured in benign and malignant prostate tumors, as well as in cell lines.
Methods: Expression of ERalpha and ERbeta was measured in prostate hyperplasia (BPH, n = 7), androgen-dependent (n = 30) as well as hormone-refractory (n = 12) prostate carcinomas, and in four prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, DU145, PC-3, and 22Rv1) using real-time quantitative RT-PCR.
Results: Only low-level expression of ERalpha was found in all tumor types and cell lines. The level of expression was similar to that observed in breast carcinomas found to be negative for ERalpha by immunohistochemistry. All cell lines showed low, but detectable, levels of ERbeta expression. The mean expression of ERbeta in the hormone-refractory carcinomas was about half that seen in BPH or the androgen-dependent carcinomas; however, the difference was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: The data suggest it is unlikely that alterations in the expression of either ER are commonly involved in the progression of prostate cancer.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.