Multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) expression in prostate cancer is associated with androgen signaling and decreases with tumor progression

Virchows Arch. 2013 Apr;462(4):437-43. doi: 10.1007/s00428-013-1390-8. Epub 2013 Mar 16.


Multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) is a transmembrane transport protein found in many cell types and is involved in substrate-specific transport of endogenous and exogenous substrates. Recently, it has shown to be expressed in prostate cancer cell lines and to be among the most commonly upregulated transcripts in prostate cancer, although a comprehensive expression analysis is lacking so far. We aimed to investigate its expression by immunohistochemistry in a larger cohort of neoplastic and nonneoplastic prostate tissues (n = 441) and to correlate its expression with clinicopathological parameters including PSA-free survival times and molecular correlates of androgen signaling (androgen receptor (AR), prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and forkhead box A (FoxA)). MRP4 is widely expressed in benign and neoplastic prostate epithelia, but its expression gradually decreases during tumor progression towards castrate-resistant disease. Concordantly, it correlated with conventional prognosticators of disease progression and-within the group of androgen-dependent tumors-with AR and FoxA expression. Moreover, lower levels of MRP4 expression were associated with shorter PSA relapse-free survival times in the androgen-dependent group. In benign tissues, we found zone-dependent differences of MRP4 expression, with the highest levels in the peripheral and central zones. Although MRP4 is known to be regulated in prostate cancer, this study is the first to demonstrate a gradual downregulation of MRP4 protein during malignant tumor progression and a prognostic value of this loss of expression.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / physiology*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • ABCC4 protein, human
  • AR protein, human
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen