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J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2003;23(2-3):225-38.

Expression of peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) in human tumors: relationship to breast, colorectal, and prostate tumor progression.

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Division of Hormone Research, Department of Cell Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia 20057, USA.


High levels of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), the alternative-binding site for diazepam, are part of the aggressive human breast cancer cell phenotype in vitro. We examined PBR levels and distribution in normal tissue and tumors from multiple cancer types by immunohistochemistry. Among normal breast tissues, fibroadenomas, primary and metastatic adenocarcinomas, there is a progressive increase in PBR levels parallel to the invasive and metastatic ability of the tumor (p < 0.0001). In colorectal and prostate carcinomas, PBR levels were also higher in tumor than in the corresponding non-tumoral tissues and benign lesions (p < 0.0001). In contrast, PBR was highly concentrated in normal adrenal cortical cells and hepatocytes, whereas in adrenocortical tumors and hepatomas PBR levels were decreased. Moreover, malignant skin tumors showed decreased PBR expression compared with normal skin. These results indicate that elevated PBR expression is not a common feature of aggressive tumors, but rather may be limited to certain cancers, such as those of breast, colon-rectum and prostate tissues, where elevated PBR expression is associated with tumor progression. Thus, we propose that PBR overexpression could serve as a novel prognostic indicator of an aggressive phenotype in breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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