Background: The expression of E-cadherin in the intercellular adhesion of metastatic prostate cancer cells in bone, which is the most prevalent site of metastatic growth, remains elusive.
Methods: The aim of the study was to compare the concurrent membranous expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin proteins, the state which is known to be associated with the cellular adhesion function of E-cadherin, in prostate biopsy tissue specimens by immunohistochemical staining method. The expression patterns of E-cadherin or beta-catenin were classified as homogeneous (most cells exhibiting positively), heterogeneous (a few scattered patches of cells with positivity) or negative.
Results: Benign prostate hyperplasia cells exhibited homogeneous expression of both E-cadherin and beta-catenin in 9 of 11 (82%), whereas the primary prostate cancer cells were homogeneously positive for both proteins only in 4 of 22 (18%) of the cases. The results are similar to those reported in literature. However, in contrast to the primary cancer, a significantly increased frequency of the metastatic prostate cancer cells in bone exhibited homogeneous expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin in 12 of 17 (71%) of the cases. A statistically significant association was observed between the overexpression of both proteins and the metastatic prostate cancer cells in bone (Fisher's exact P < 0.001).
Conclusions: The result of the study demonstrated for the first time that the membranous overexpression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin are significantly associated with the metastatic prostate cancer cells in bone and that the high frequency of expression suggest their involvement in the intercellular adhesion of the metastatic cells in bone.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.