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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jul;34(7):414-9.

Prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) expression in human prostate cancer tissues: implications for prostate carcinogenesis and progression of prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Shantou University Medical College, Second Affiliated Hospital of Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515031, Guangdong, China.



Prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) is a recently defined homolog of the Thy-1/Ly-6 family of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored cell surface antigens. The objective of the present study was to examine the expression status of PSCA protein and mRNA in clinical specimens of human prostate cancer (PCa) and to validate it as a potential molecular target for diagnosis and treatment of PCa.


Immunohistochemical (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH) analyses of PSCA expression were simultaneously performed on paraffin-embedded sections of 20 benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), 20 prostatic intraepithelial neoplasm (PIN) and 48 prostate cancer (PCa) tissues, including 9 androgen-independent prostate cancers. The level of PSCA expression was semiquantitatively scored by assessing both the percentage and intensity of PSCA-positive staining cells in the specimens. We then compared the PSCA expression between BPH, PIN and PCa tissues and analyzed the correlations of PSCA expression level with pathological grade, clinical stage and progression to androgen-independence in PCa.


In BPH and low grade PIN, PSCA protein and mRNA staining were weak or negative and less intense and uniform than that observed in high grade PIN (HGPIN) and PCa. Moderate to strong PSCA protein and mRNA expression were noted in 8 of 11 (72.7%) HGPIN and in 40 of 48 (83.4%) PCa specimens examined by IHC and ISH analyses, and their statistical significance was compared with BPH (20%) and low-grade PIN (22.2%) specimens (P < 0.05). The expression level of PSCA increased with a higher Gleason grade, advanced stage and progression to androgen-independence (P < 0.05). In addition, IHC and ISH staining revealed a high degree of correlation between PSCA protein and mRNA overexpression.


Our data demonstrate that PSCA as a new cell surface marker is overexpressed in a majority of cases of human PCa. PSCA expression correlates positively with adverse tumor characteristics, such as increasing pathological grade (poor cell differentiation), worsening clinical stage and androgen-independence and speculatively with prostate carcinogenesis. PSCA may possess prognostic utility and may be a promising molecular target for diagnosis and treatment of PCa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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