In primary prostate cancer, the common multifocality and heterogeneity are major obstacles in finding robust prognostic tissue biomarkers. The long noncoding RNA SCHLAP1 has been suggested, but its prognostic value has not been investigated in the context of tumor heterogeneity. In the present study, expression of SCHLAP1 was investigated using real-time RT-PCR in a multisampled series of 778 tissue samples from radical prostatectomies of 164 prostate cancer patients (median follow-up time 7.4 y). The prognostic value of SCHLAP1 was evaluated with biochemical recurrence as endpoint. In total, 29% of patients were classified as having high expression of SCHLAP1 in at least one malignant sample. Among these, inter- and intrafocal heterogeneity was detected in 72% and 56%, respectively. High expression of SCHLAP1 was shown to be a predictor of biochemical recurrence in both uni- and multivariable cox regression analyses (P < 0.001 and P = 0.02). High expression of SCHLAP1 was also significantly associated with adverse clinicopathological characteristics, including grade group, high pT stage, invasive cribriform growth/intraductal carcinoma of the prostate, and reactive stroma. In conclusion, high expression of SCHLAP1 in at least one malignant sample is a robust prognostic biomarker in primary prostate cancer. For the first time, high SCHLAP1 expression has been associated with the aggressive histopathologic feature reactive stroma. The expression of SCHLAP1 is highly heterogeneous, and analysis of multiple samples is therefore crucial in determination of the SCHLAP1 status of a patient.
Keywords: Biomarker; Heterogeneity; Multifocality; Prognosis; Prostate cancer; lncRNA.
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