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Mod Pathol. 2007 Nov;20(11):1121-7. Epub 2007 Sep 14.

Identification of PCA3 (DD3) in prostatic carcinoma by in situ hybridization.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Quebec, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec, Laval University, QC, Canada.


PCA3 is a specific marker of prostatic carcinoma. However, PCA3 has been detected only at RNA level and a corresponding PCA3 protein has never been identified. The aim of this study was to develop a technique capable of detecting PCA3 RNA on histology sections and to assess the cellular location of the molecule. Forty-eight formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded blocks of prostatectomy specimens were selected for PCA3 detection by in situ hybridization by both radioactive and chromogenic methods. Of the 48 sections, 28 contained prostatic adenocarcinoma and 20 had benign tissue located distant from the tumor. Using the radioactive detection method, 26 of 28 available cases (93%) of cancers presented at least focal cytoplasmic PCA3 expression. The benign glands located in proximity of the cancer presented PCA3 expression in eight (29%) cases, whereas those situated distant to the tumor showed focal expression in 2 of 20 (10%) cases only. High-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) expressed PCA3 in 25 of 26 (96%) cases. With the chromogenic detection method, 22 of the 24 interpretable cases (92%) of cancers had at least focal cytoplasmic staining. Benign glands located close to neoplastic glands expressed PCA3 in 8 (33%) cases, but none of those distant to the tumor expressed the marker. HGPIN was positive in 17 of 24 (71%) cases. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for the detection of cancer were 93, 79, 71 and 95% for the radioactive detective method and 92, 80, 71 and 95% for the chromogenic detection method, respectively. Our study shows that PCA3 RNA is expressed by most prostate cancers and HGPIN. Normal glands rarely express the marker, except those located in immediate proximity of neoplastic glands, suggesting the presence of precursor molecular changes.

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