The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is considered a key step in tumor progression, where the invasive cancer cells change from epithelial to mesenchymal phenotype. During this process, a decrease or loss in adhesion molecules expression and an increase in migration molecules expression are observed. The aim of this work was to determine the expression and cellular distribution of syndecan-1 and -2 (migration molecules) and E-cadherin and beta-catenin (adhesion molecules) in different stages of prostate cancer progression. A quantitative immunohistochemical study of these molecules was carried out in tissue samples from benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate carcinoma, with low and high Gleason score, obtained from biopsies archives of the Clinic Hospital of the University of Chile and Dipreca Hospital. Polyclonal specific antibodies and amplification system of estreptavidin-biotin peroxidase and diaminobenzidine were used. Syndecan-1 was uniformly expressed in basolateral membranes of normal epithelium, changing to a granular cytoplasmatic expression pattern in carcinomas. Syndecan-2 was observed mainly in a cytoplasmatic granular pattern, with high immunostaining intensity in areas of low Gleason score. E-cadherin was detected in basolateral membrane of normal epithelia showing decreased expression in high Gleason score samples. beta-Catenin was found in cell membranes of normal epithelia changing its distribution toward the nucleus and cytoplasm in carcinoma samples. We concluded that changes in expression and cell distribution of E-cadherin and beta-catenin correlated with the progression degree of prostate adenocarcinoma, suggesting a role of these molecules as markers of progression and prognosis. Furthermore, changes in the pattern expression of syndecan-1 and -2 indicate that both molecules may be involved in the EMT and tumor progression of prostate cancer.
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