Aim: Development of metastasis is one of the main causes of prostatic cancer-related death. We have previously found that up-regulation of TWIST, a highly conserved basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, in prostatic cancer cells can promote epithelial to mesenchymal transition through down-regulation of E-cadherin. The present study aimed to investigate the prognostic significance of TWIST and to correlate TWIST and E-cadherin expression in prostatic cancer specimens.
Methods and results: TWIST and E-cadherin expression was studied in 115 prostatic cancer specimens, eight cases of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and 37 cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia by immunohistochemistry. Increased cytoplasmic expression of TWIST was associated with malignant transformation of prostatic epithelium and histological progression of prostatic cancer, while nuclear TWIST expression was significant in predicting the metastatic potential of the primary prostatic cancer. In addition, high levels of TWIST expression were also significantly associated with aberrant E-cadherin expression.
Conclusions: These results suggest that TWIST may serve as a prognostic marker for high-grade prostatic cancer. In addition, up-regulation of TWIST in combination with aberrant E-cadherin expression in primary prostatic cancer specimens may predict development of distal metastatic disease.