Objectives. To evaluate 5-alpha-reductase (5αR) expression in benign and malignant urothelium and to assess the relationship between 5αR expression and tumor stage, tumor grade, and clinical outcome in patients with urothelial carcinoma/transitional cell carcinoma. Methods. We performed immunohistochemistry for 5αR on 53 urothelial specimens from 36 patients with transitional cell carcinoma treated at our institution between June 2002 and July 2003. For each tumor and the adjacent nontumor urothelium, a semiquantitative staining score was calculated. We used t tests and analysis of variance to compare the staining score across groups. Kaplan-Meier and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the relationship between 5αR expression and clinical outcome. Results. 5αR was expressed throughout the non-neoplastic urothelium. Nontumor urothelium had greater mean staining scores than did tumor specimens (160.1 versus 105.5, P <0.01). Low staining scores were associated with high grade (P <0.05), Stage pT3, pT4, and pTis (P <0.05), and disease progression (P <0.05). A staining score less than the median was a risk factor for progression (odds ratio 6.2, P <0.01) on univariate regression analysis. Patients with a staining score less than the median had a greater likelihood of disease progression (log-rank P <0.05) and cause-specific mortality (log-rank P <0.05). Conclusions. We demonstrated 5αR expression in human urothelium and found that expression is decreased in transitional cell carcinoma in relation to tumor grade and stage. Decreased 5αR expression was associated with disease progression and cause-specific mortality.
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