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Am J Pathol. 1999 Sep;155(3):787-98.

N-Cadherin expression in human prostate carcinoma cell lines. An epithelial-mesenchymal transformation mediating adhesion withStromal cells.

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Department of Surgery, Section of Surgical Research, University of Arizona Health Sciences, Tucson, 85724, USA.


In human prostate adenocarcinoma, an association between loss of E-cadherin, increased Gleason score, and extracapsular dissemination has been observed. Further characterization of the E-cadherin/catenin phenotype of human prostate carcinoma cell lines showed loss of E-cadherin and expression of N-cadherin in poorly differentiated prostate carcinoma cell lines (PC-3N derived from PC-3, PC-3, and JCA1). We showed that N-cadherin is concentrated at sites of cell-cell contact in PC-3N cellular extensions. N-cadherin was also expressed in prostate stromal fibroblasts both in vitro and in prostate tissue. Co-cultures of prostate stromal fibroblasts and PC-3N cells showed the immunolocalization of N-cadherin in intercellular contacts. In addition, the isoform expression of the cadherin binding protein p120(ctn) differed in relation to the expression of E- versus N-cadherin by the prostate carcinoma cell lines. The p100 isoform was more highly expressed in E-cadherin-positive carcinoma cell lines, whereas p120 was predominantly expressed only in N-cadherin-positive prostate carcinoma cell lines and prostate stromal fibroblasts. The N-cadherin-positive carcinoma cell line, PC-3N, displayed aggressive invasion into the surface of the diaphragm muscle after intraperitoneal injection of SCID mice. The gain of N-cadherin and loss of E-cadherin by invasive prostate carcinoma cell lines suggests a progression from an epithelial to a mesenchymal phenotype, which may allow for their interaction with surrounding stromal fibroblasts and facilitate metastasis.

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