Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization utilizing a 428 base pair [35S]-labelled cDNA probe from the 3' noncoding region of the PSA gene. Thirty six fresh surgical specimens were collected from patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy for carcinoma of the prostate. Quantitative analysis of the levels of PSA mRNA in both the benign and malignant tissues was performed using an IBAS 2000 Image Analysis System. The results of this study demonstrated that there is a significant decrease in the expression of PSA mRNA in the carcinoma tissue when compared to the benign epithelium. The average binding (number of silver grains/1 x 104 μm.2) for 20 specimens of malignant epithelium was 475 ± 161 and 586 ± 140 for 16 specimens of benign epithelium (p < 0.05). Eleven patients had both benign and malignant tissue from the same surgical specimen available for study. From these paired specimens, the PSA mRNA expression was also significantly reduced in the malignant epithelium when compared to the benign epithelium, 445 ± 162 and 588 ± 135 respectively (p < 0.005). The PSA protein was detected using a monoclonal antibody to PSA with an immunohistochemical staining technique. The PSA protein expression paralleled the expression of the PSA mRNA in the majority of the tissue sections. Many of the tumor specimens showed a heterogeneous expression of PSA, whereas all of the benign epithelium had a uniform high level of PSA expression. In conclusion, PSA mRNA and protein are located only within the glandular epithelial tissue, the expression of PSA protein parallels that of the PSA mRNA, and both the PSA protein and PSA mRNA are significantly decreased in the malignant epithelium when compared to benign prostatic epithelium.
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