Increased cell proliferation activity and decreased cell death are associated with the emergence of hormone-refractory recurrent prostate cancer

J Pathol. 1997 Sep;183(1):51-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9896(199709)183:1<51::AID-PATH1092>3.0.CO;2-N.


The tumour growth kinetics (cell proliferation and apoptosis) of ten hormone-refractory locally recurrent prostate cancers were compared with their matched untreated primary tumour specimens. All recurrent tumours had a higher cell proliferation activity, as defined by Ki-67 immunohistochemistry, than corresponding primary tumours from the same patients. The mean cell proliferation activity in recurrences (13.5 +/- 3.8 per cent) was over two times higher (P < 0.0001) than that in primary tumours (5.5 +/- 2.4 per cent), suggesting that cell clones which progress during androgen withdrawal are actively stimulated to proliferate. The mean percentage of apoptotic cells, as estimated by the in situ end-labelling technique, was 5.4 +/- 4.7 per cent in untreated primary tumours, whereas it was 2.3 +/- 1.5 per cent in locally recurrent tumours (P = 0.05). In all but two cases, the apoptotic index was lower in recurrent than in corresponding primary tumours, suggesting that recurrent prostate carcinomas are able to avoid apoptosis in the androgen-deprived environment. In conclusion, the clinical progression of prostate cancer during androgen withdrawal is associated with increased cell proliferation and decreased apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Division
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / pathology*
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / therapy
  • Orchiectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Ki-67 Antigen