Background: Although recent laboratory and population studies suggest that prostate cancer may be responsive to insulin, there is a gap in knowledge concerning the expression of insulin receptors on benign or malignant prostate tissue.
Methods: We immunostained 644 cores on tissue microarrays prepared from 29 prostate tissue samples without malignancies, 78 Gleason grade 3 cancers, 21 Gleason grade 4 cancers and 33 Gleason grade 5 cancers with antibodies against the insulin-like growth factor I receptor and the insulin receptor.
Results: We observed immunoreactivity with both antibodies, which implies the presence of hybrid receptors as well as IGF-I receptors and insulin receptors. Insulin receptor staining intensity was significantly (P < 0.001) higher on malignant than benign prostate epithelial cells. Analysis of information from public gene expression databases confirmed that co-expression of insulin receptor mRNA and IGF-I receptor mRNA is common in prostate cancer specimens. RT-PCR methods provided evidence for the presence of mRNA for both IR-A and IR-B insulin receptor isoforms.
Conclusion: These observations document the presence of insulin receptors on primary human prostate cancers. The findings are relevant not only to ongoing clinical trials of drug candidates that target IGF-I and/or insulin receptors, but also to the hypothesis that obesity-associated hyperinsulinemia mediates the adverse effect of obesity on prostate cancer prognosis.
Copyright 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.