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Carcinogenesis. 1996 Aug;17(8):1641-6.

Prostate specific antigen and androgen receptor induction and characterization of an immortalized adult human prostatic epithelial cell line.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA.


Progress in prostate cancer research has been hindered by the lack of well characterized, immortalized, human prostatic epithelial cell lines that express markers of normal prostatic epithelial cells and mimic normal growth and differentiation responses to androgens. The objectives of this study were to: (i) establish immortalized cell lines from non-neoplastic, adult human prostatic epithelium using adenovirus-12/simian virus-40 (Ad12-SV40) hybrid virus; (ii) establish their prostatic epithelial origin; (iii) demonstrate androgen responsiveness; and (iv) examine response to growth factors. Primary epithelial cell cultures derived from a non-neoplastic, adult human prostate were infected with the Ad12-SV40 virus. Several immortalized clones were isolated. Single cell cloning of one clone, free of cytopathic effects, gave rise to the PWr-1E cell line. An immortalized cell line PWR-1E, which expresses many characteristics of normal prostatic epithelial cells was established. Immunostaining showed that cells express cytokeratins 8 and 18 normally expressed by differentiated, secretory prostatic epithelial cells. The most remarkable characteristics of PWR-1E cells are growth stimulation, increased expression of androgen receptor and induction of prostate specific antigen (PSA) expression in response to androgens, which indisputably establish their prostatic epithelial origin. They are positive for SV40 large-T antigen and show strong nuclear staining for p53. Cells from passages 23 and 40 were not tumorigenic in nude mice even when co-injected with Matrigel. They grow in a serum-free defined medium and respond to EGF, bFGF and TGF-beta. Passage 42-cells showed a human male (XY), hyperdiploid karyotype. The PWR-1E cell line is the only known Ad12-SV40-immortalized human prostatic epithelial cell line. PWR-1E cells can be used to study (i) the etiology and the multistep process of carcinogenesis and tumor progression in the human prostate; (ii) normal prostate physiology and differentiation; and (iii) potential prostate cancer chemopreventive agents.

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