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Zhonghua Bing Li Xue Za Zhi. 2010 Sep;39(9):587-90.

[Electron microscopic examination on 50 cases of prostatic needle biopsies].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Pathology, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated With Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, China.



To study the differences in ultrastructural findings between prostatic carcinoma and benign prostatic hypertrophy, and the various ultrastructural features seen in moderately to poorly differentiated prostatic carcinoma.


Utrasound-guided needle biopsies were carried out in 50 clinically suspicious cases of prostatic carcinoma. For each case, one additional core was sampled from the most suspicious area, fixed in glutaraldehyde and examined under electron microscopy.


In the 50 cases of prostatic needle biopsies studied, there were a total of 42 cases with histologic findings of prostatic carcinoma. Thirty-one cases showed features corresponding to Gleason's score 3 to 5. In contrast to that seen in benign prostatic hypertrophy, the ultrastructural findings of the tumor cells commonly seen in prostatic carcinoma included the centrally located giant nucleoli, a direct contact with stroma, and formation of cytoplasmic microcyst. Occasionaly, there were mitotic figures seen, accompanying with fibromyxoid change of the peritumoural stroma. Amongst the 31 cases of Gleason's score 3 to 5 prostatic carcinoma, 29 cases (93.5%) demonstrated cytoplasmic prostasomes and storage vesicles. Similar to their counterparts in benign prostatic cells, prostasomes and storage vesicles in prostatic carcinoma cells were formed in the Golgi apparatus and released into the lumen by apocrine excretion and exocytosis.


Electron microscopy is helpful in distinguishing between benign and malignant prostatic lesions. Because of the high yield of prostasomes in moderately to poorly differentiated prostatic carcinoma, prostasomes may become a potential target for cancer immunotherapy and one of the useful diagnostic indices for delineating the prostatic origin of metastatic carcinoma.

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