The prognostic value of pretreatment expression of androgen receptor and bcl-2 in hormonally treated prostate cancer patients

J Urol. 1997 Nov;158(5):1880-4; discussion 1884-5. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(01)64157-0.


Purpose: We determined the prognostic value of oncoprotein bcl-2 and androgen receptor expression in pretreatment transurethral resection specimens of hormonally treated prostate cancer patients.

Materials and methods: A total of 68 pretreatment transurethral resection specimens, 30 radical prostatectomy specimens and 21 palliative transurethral resection specimens with androgen independent prostate cancer was stained with a monoclonal antibody against bcl-2. Androgen receptor immunohistochemistry was performed on pretreatment transurethral resection specimens only. Results were scored semiquantitatively and were correlated with tumor stage and grade and with the occurrence of clinical progression or tumor related death.

Results: Bcl-2 expression by adenocarcinoma cells was found in 32, 17 and 24% of pretreatment transurethral resection, radical prostatectomy and palliative transurethral resection specimens, respectively. The bcl-2 scores did not correlate with tumor stage or grade. Androgen receptor was expressed in 88% of pretreatment transurethral resection specimens. Androgen receptor scores were marginally related to tumor grade, but not to tumor stage. A prognostic value of bcl-2 or androgen receptor in pretreatment transurethral resection specimens was not found. When a combined bcl-2/androgen receptor score was used, this parameter was an independent prognostic marker to predict clinical progression with Gleason grade and stage classification. Gleason grade was the only independent prognostic marker to predict tumor related death.

Conclusions: The expression of bcl-2 and androgen receptor in pretreatment prostate cancer specimens is not related to the prognosis of hormonally treated prostate cancer. Bcl-2 expression is not increased in endocrine therapy resistant prostate cancer. Surprisingly, a combined bcl-2/androgen receptor score acts as an independent prognosticator for clinical progression.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Flutamide / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonadotropins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Orchiectomy
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Androgen / biosynthesis*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Gonadotropins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Flutamide