Purpose: Retinoids, which include vitamin A (retinol; ROL) and its derivatives, have been investigated in the treatment of bladder cancer. We have shown that expression of the enzyme lecithin:ROL acyltransferase (LRAT), which converts ROL to retinyl esters, is reduced in several human cancers. Here we evaluated expression of LRAT protein and mRNA in normal and malignant bladder tissue specimens from human patients. We also examined the effect of retinoids on LRAT expression in bladder cancer cell lines. Experimental Design: We evaluated 49 bladder cancer specimens for LRAT protein expression using immunohistochemistry with affinity-purified antibodies to human LRAT. LRAT mRNA expression was assessed using reverse transcription-PCR in bladder specimens from an additional 16 patients. We examined the effect of retinoic acid and ROL on LRAT mRNA expression in five human bladder cancer cell lines. Results: LRAT protein was detected throughout the nonneoplastic bladder epithelium in all of the specimens. In bladder tumors, LRAT protein expression was reduced compared with the nonneoplastic epithelium or was completely absent in 7 of 32 (21.9%) superficial tumors versus 16 of 17 (94.1%) invasive tumors (P < 0.001). All of the non-neoplastic bladder specimens tested (11 of 11) showed LRAT mRNA expression, compared with 5 of 8 (62%) superficial tumors and 0 of 5 (0%) invasive tumors (P = 0.001). Three of five human bladder cancer cell lines expressed LRAT mRNA independent of retinoid exposure, whereas in two cell lines LRAT mRNA expression was induced by retinoid treatment. Conclusions: We report a significant reduction in LRAT expression in bladder cancer. Moreover, we demonstrate an inverse correlation of LRAT mRNA and protein expression with increasing tumor stage. These data suggest that loss of LRAT expression is associated with invasive bladder cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research