Immunohistochemical analysis of beta-tubulin isotypes in human prostate carcinoma and benign prostatic hypertrophy

Prostate. 1997 Mar 1;30(4):263-8. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0045(19970301)30:4<263::aid-pros6>;2-m.


Background: beta-tubulin, the intracellular target of several antimicrotubule agents, is encoded by at least six genes and exists as multiple isotypes with tissue-specific expression. Previous in vitro studies indicated that tubulin isotype composition may affect polymerization properties, dynamics, and sensitivity to drugs.

Methods: To investigate the isotype composition of beta-tubulin in human prostate, tissues were collected from 26 patients after radical prostatectomy and sections were stained with isotype-specific antibodies.

Results: beta IV tubulin is the predominant isotype in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and adenocarcinoma, showing significantly stronger immunohistochemical expression than beta II and beta III, particularly in Gleason's grade 3 and 4 cancers. Staining for the beta II isotype was invariably weak and often absent in BPH and normal glands. There was a marked increase in beta II isotype stain from BPH to cancer in 77% of the patients, suggesting that the expression of this isotype is related to malignant status.

Conclusions: The beta II tubulin isotype is a potential marker for prostate adenocarcinoma. The possibility that tumor beta-tubulin isotype composition may effect the response to antimicrotubule drug therapy in prostate cancer and other tumors merit investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Isomerism
  • Male
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • Tubulin