Background: The early detection of prostate cancer has resulted in an increase in the number of patients with localized prostate cancer and has paralleled the reported reduction in prostate cancer mortality. The increased rate of detection of patients with localized prostate cancer may also increase the risk of potentially morbid therapy in a patient with indolent cancer. Defining the biomarker correlates of prostate cancer virulence will facilitate the appropriate application and development of therapy for patients with early disease.
Methods: A 255 core prostate cancer tissue microarray (TMA) from 47 prostatectomy specimens with organ confined tumor was constructed. Prostate cancer foci of transition and peripheral zone origin were represented on the TMA. Further, replicate cores of the two Gleason grades comprising the Gleason score, representative of Gleason scores 5-9, were arrayed from each prostatectomy specimen. Standard immunohistochemical techniques were used to assess expression of nine, cell death and cell cycle regulatory proteins implicated in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer (bax, bcl-2, bcl-xL, bin1, CD95, mdm2, p21, p53, and NFkappaB).
Results: The Spearman correlation coefficient revealed a strong correlation of bax, bin1, FAS, p65 and p21 expression with Gleason grade. Spearman correlation coefficients showed that expression of, bax and bin1, bax and MDM2, Bax and p21, and bax and p65 NFkappaB was highly associated. Other significant associations were identified between bin1 and p21, bin1 and MDM2, bin1 and p65 NFkappaB and between p21 and p65 NFkappaB. A model for predicting the biological potential of Gleason score 7 prostate cancer using multivariable logistic regression methods was developed. The findings also indicate that the profile of specific markers for Gleason grade 3 prostate cancer correlates with the overall context of the Gleason score.
Conclusion: These data support the view that important molecular differences exist among and between the Gleason scores. Furthermore, there is significant molecular heterogeneity among prostatectomy specimens containing Gleason grade 3 cancer. This observation may have broader implications regarding the determination of risk among patients with prostate cancer that is currently considered to be of either good prognosis or unclear prognosis, i.e. Gleason score 7 tumors.