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J Urol. 2006 Jun;175(6):2072-7; discussion 2077.

Expression and cellular localization of follicle-stimulating hormone receptor in normal human prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Pathophysiology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.



FSH, identified as an endogenous product of the prostate, is a glycoprotein with proliferative activity. Increasing evidence of autocrine/paracrine activities of gonadotropins at extragonadal sites led us to investigate the gene expression and cellular localization of FSH-R in normal and diseased human prostates.


Prostate specimens, including normal gland, BPH, PCa and human androgen refractory (PC3) and androgen dependent (LNCaP) prostate cancer cell lines (European Collection of Cell Cultures, Salisbury, United Kingdom), were analyzed for FSH-R expression by semiquantitative and real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. We also evaluated cyclic adenosine monophosphate production by cultured PC3 and LNCaP stimulated with human FSH.


Little FSH-R expression was seen in 9 of 13 normal and 8 of 15 BPH specimens. Of 30 PCa samples 21 were FSH-R positive with generally higher expression compared to normal prostate and BPH samples. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction of matched normal/tumor pairs confirmed higher FSH-R mRNA expression in PCa. PC3 cells expressed FSH-R, while LNCaP cells were FSH-R negative. FSH-R protein was mainly localized in the glandular epithelium and in some stromal cells in normal prostate, BPH and PCa specimens. PC3 cells expressed FSH-R protein and their treatment with FSH induced a significant increase in cyclic adenosine monophosphate production.


These results indicate that a subset of PCa expresses FSH-R mRNA and protein at levels higher than those of normal and hyperplastic tissues that express FSH-R. This suggests that FSH might contribute to some cases of PCa via a receptor mediated mechanism.

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