Steroid hormones stimulate human prostate cancer progression and metastasis

Int J Cancer. 2006 May 1;118(9):2123-31. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21614.


Tissue recombinants (TRs) composed of mouse urogenital mesenchyme (mUGM) plus an immortalized nontumorigenic human prostatic epithelial cell line (BPH-1) were grown under the kidney capsule of male athymic nude mice under different hormonal conditions. The objectives were to determine temporal plasma concentrations of testosterone (T) and estradiol-17beta (E2) that elicit progression of nontumorigenic human prostatic epithelial cells in vivo. Second, to determine whether mUGM+BPH-1 TRs in [T+E2]-treated hosts could progress to metastases. Control mouse hosts received no exogenous hormonal support, whereas treated mice received Silastic implants containing T and E2 for 1-4 months. Plasma from hormonally treated mice contained significantly higher (p < 0.01) concentrations of T at 1 month (11.7 vs. 0.9 ng/ml). Plasma levels of E2 in steroid implanted mice were significantly higher (p < 0.05) at 2 months (104.5 vs. 25.6 ng/l) and 4 months (122.8 vs. 19.2 pg/ml). Wet weights of mUGM+BPH-1 TRs from [T+E2]-implanted mice were significantly larger (p < 0.001) than those from untreated hosts. Untreated mUGM+BPH-1 TRs contained a well organized differentiated epithelium surrounded by smooth muscle stroma similar to developing prostate. In [T+E2]-implanted mice, mUGM+BPH-1 TRs formed carcinomas that contained a fibrous connective tissue stroma permeating the tumor; smooth muscle when present was associated with vasculature. Renal lymph nodes collected from [T+E2]-treated mice, but not untreated mice, contained metastatic carcinoma cells. Moreover, metastases could be observed at distant sites including lung and liver. Epithelial cells isolated from untreated mUGM+BPH-1 TRs exhibited benign histology and formed small nontumorigenic grafts when subsequently transplanted into athymic nude mice. In contrast, epithelial cells isolated from mUGM+BPH-1 tumors of [T+E2]-treated hosts formed large tumors that grew independent of stromal and hormonal support and developed lymph node metastases. We conclude that [T+E2]-treatment promotes prostatic cancer progression in mUGM+BPH-1 TRs. Use of mUGM in this system will allow future studies to utilize the power of mouse genetics to identify paracrine factors involved in human prostatic carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Estradiol / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesoderm
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Testosterone / physiology*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol