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Prostate. 2011 Jul;71(10):1033-46. doi: 10.1002/pros.21318. Epub 2010 Dec 28.

5α-reductase type 3 expression in human benign and malignant tissues: a comparative analysis during prostate cancer progression.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.



A third isozyme of human 5α-steroid reductase, 5α-reductase-3, was identified in prostate tissue at the mRNA level. However, the levels of 5α-reductase-3 protein expression and its cellular localization in human tissues remain unknown.


A specific monoclonal antibody was developed, validated, and used to characterize for the first time the expression of 5α-reductase-3 protein in 18 benign and 26 malignant human tissue types using immunostaining analyses.


In benign tissues, 5α-reductase-3 immunostaining was high in conventional androgen-regulated human tissues, such as skeletal muscle and prostate. However, high levels of expression also were observed in non-conventional androgen-regulated tissues, which suggest either multiples target tissues for androgens or different functions of 5α-reductase-3 among human tissues. In malignant tissues, 5α-reductase-3 immunostaining was ubiquitous but particularly over-expressed in some cancers compared to their benign counterparts, which suggests a potential role for 5α-reductase-3 as a biomarker of malignancy. In benign prostate, 5α-reductase-3 immunostaining was localized to basal epithelial cells, with no immunostaining observed in secretory/luminal epithelial cells. In high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), 5α-reductase-3 immunostaining was localized in both basal epithelial cells and neoplastic epithelial cells characteristic of HGPIN. In androgen-stimulated and castration-recurrent prostate cancer (CaP), 5α-reductase-3 immunostaining was present in most epithelial cells and at similar levels, and at levels higher than observed in benign prostate. Analyses of expression and functionality of 5α-reductase-3 in human tissues may prove useful for development of treatment for benign prostatic enlargement and prevention and treatment of CaP.

Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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