Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent inducer of endothelial cell growth and is expressed at elevated levels in several tumor types. In this study immunohistochemical localization and distribution of isoforms of VEGF were examined in malignant and non-malignant human prostatic tissues.
Materials and methods: Immunohistochemical localization of VEGF was performed on thirty well, moderately and poorly differentiated stage D2 prostate cancer specimens and twenty benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) specimens. VEGF mRNA was determined by polymerase chain reaction and VEGF protein isoforms were detected by Western blotting of prostate cancer and BPH specimens.
Results: Cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for VEGF was detected in tumor cells and peritumoral stromal cells of prostate cancer specimens and in non-malignant glandular epithelial cells and interglandular stromal cells in BPH specimens. Staining was focal with areas of strongly to weakly stained cells adjacent to negatively staining areas. mRNA's for VEGF121, VEGF165 and VEGF189 were present in all benign and malignant prostate specimens. VEGF protein isoforms of molecular sizes corresponding to VEGF165 and VEGF189 were detected in cytosolic extracts of prostate cancers and BPH specimens by Western blotting. In addition, two novel higher molecular weight immunoreactive bands were detected in the prostate specimens.
Conclusions: Widespread distribution of VEGF in prostate cancers and BPH specimens suggest that the VEGF165, VEGF189 isoforms and novel 90 and 110 kD forms detected may contribute to the establishment or progression of these conditions.