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Semin Surg Oncol. 2000 Jan-Feb;18(1):17-28.

Detection of extraprostatic prostate cells utilizing reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., Seattle, Washington 98125, USA.


This article reviews the utility of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in prostate cancer. RT-PCR aims to detect occult micrometastases in non-prostatic sites. Due to its exquisite analytical sensitivity, RT-PCR is able to amplify and detect even low-level, prostate-specific messages present at these extraprostatic sites. In recent years, a fair amount of data on the clinical utility of the technique had been reported. The target tissues under investigation are peripheral blood, bone marrow aspirate, and lymph nodes. Favorite markers of choice are prostate-specific antigen (PSA), prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), and human glandular kallikrein-2 (hK2). False positives among negative controls are low. For the most part, RT-PCR is inadequate in detecting tumor cells in the peripheral blood from patients who are known to have metastatic prostate cancer. All studies showed that RT-PCR could detect PSA, PSMA or hK2 mRNAs in the circulation of patients who have organ-confined or extraprostatic disease. Most studies showed that RT-PCR utilizing current markers could not be used as a prospective test to diagnose prostate cancer. However, a few studies also showed that the detection rate could be predictive and sensitive enough to differentiate patients with organ-confined disease from those with extraprostatic disease. Data from PSA- or PSMA-RT-PCR using lymph nodes as the tissue source is more encouraging. RT-PCR was able to detect PSA and/or PSMA positive samples that have not been detected by conventional pathology.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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