Objectives: Recently, it was confirmed that angiogenesis is important in the development and spread of a variety of human cancers, including prostate cancer (PCa). Tumor neovascularization is thought to be controlled by chemical signals, known as angiogenic factors (AF). To date, little is known regarding the existence and role of AF in PCa. We previously reported on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in PCa. Currently, we compare VEGF expression with that of interleukin-8 (IL-8), another putative regulator of angiogenesis. We evaluated the expression of these two important AF in PCa and explored the role of inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in their regulation.
Methods: Ex vivo studies involved previously reported immunohistochemical analysis for VEGF and recent evaluation of IL-8 expression and distribution in archival tissue samples of PCa, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and normal prostate tissue. In vitro studies used PCa cells (DU-145) grown in culture and stimulated with cytokines thought to induce VEGF and IL-8 (ie, IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, and TNF-beta). After 24 hours, with or without cytokines, cell culture supernatants were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or radioimmunoassay for VEGF or IL-8 levels.
Results: Immunohistochemical studies of prostate tissue showed that PCa cells stained positively for VEGF and IL-8. Benign prostatic hyperplasia and normal prostate cells displayed little staining for either AF. Low levels of VEGF and IL-8 were produced by unstimulated DU-145 cells. Induction of DU-145 cells with cytokines resulted in differential stimulation whereby TNF was the predominant inducer of VEGF, whereas IL-1 was the predominant inducer of IL-8.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that significant levels of VEGF and IL-8 are present in PCa, but not BPH or normal prostate cells in vivo. In vitro studies suggest that differential regulation of AF expression occurs in PCa. Because IL-1 and TNF are present in the PCa tumor microenvironment, it is likely that differential regulation of AF also occurs in human PCa and contributes to differential tumor growth and metastasis.