Expression of prostate-specific membrane antigen in normal and malignant human tissues

World J Surg. 2006 Apr;30(4):628-36. doi: 10.1007/s00268-005-0544-5.


Background: Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is upregulated in androgen-dependent prostate carcinoma and it has been targeted for immunotherapy and diagnosis of this cancer. However, this protein is also expressed in other tissues. The objective of this study is to investigate its expression in normal and malignant human tissues.

Methods: Using monoclonal antibodies 24.4E6 (specific for residues 638-657) and 7E11.C5 (specific for the transmembrane domain of PSMA), immunohistochemical detection of PSMA was performed in surgical specimens.

Results: Prostate-specific membrane antigen was detected in the epithelium of prostate, urinary bladder, proximal tubules of kidney, liver, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, breast, fallopian tubes and testicular seminiferous tubules, hippocampal neurons and astrocytes, ependyma, cortex and medulla of the adrenal gland, and ovary stroma. It was also detected in neoplasms of the prostate, kidney, urinary bladder, stomach, small intestine, colon, lung, adrenal gland, and testis. It was not detected in normal seminal vesicles or the lung.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that PSMA is widely distributed in normal tissues, and, depending on the tumors, its expression is up- or down-regulated, or unchanged. The broad distribution of PSMA may make it suitable for the diagnosis and therapy of a wide variety of tumors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Reference Values
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology*


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • FOLH1 protein, human
  • Glutamate Carboxypeptidase II