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J Urol. 2008 Nov;180(5):2206-11. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.07.019. Epub 2008 Sep 20.

The significance of monoamine oxidase-A expression in high grade prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.



Gleason grade 4/5 prostate cancer is a determinant for recurrence following radical prostatectomy. Monoamine oxidase-A is over expressed in grade 4/5 compared to grade 3 cancer. Monoamine oxidase-A is also expressed by normal basal cells and in vitro studies suggest that its function is to repress secretory differentiation. Therefore, monoamine oxidase-A in grade 4/5 cancer might reflect dedifferentiation to a basal cell-like phenotype. We investigated whether monoamine oxidase-A expression correlates with another basal cell protein, CD44, in high grade cancer and whether either is associated with an aggressive phenotype.


A total of 133 grade 4/5 archival cancers from a cohort previously used to evaluate the prognostic significance of histomorphological variables were scored for monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 immunohistochemical labeling. Spearman rank correlations of the proteins, and histomorphological and clinical variables were determined. The univariate and multivariate value of each variable as a determinant of biochemical recurrence was assessed by logistic regression.


Monoamine oxidase-A expression correlated with CD44. Neither was prognostic for biochemical recurrence. However, monoamine oxidase-A expression positively correlated with preoperative serum prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer.


Concurrent expression of monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 suggests that grade 4/5 cancer may be basal cell-like in nature, despite the absence of other classic basal cell biomarkers such as cytokeratins 5 and 14, and p63. The correlation of monoamine oxidase-A expression with prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer suggests that monoamine oxidase-A may contribute to growth of high grade cancer and that antidepressant drugs that target monoamine oxidase-A may have applications in treating prostate cancer.

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