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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2011 Mar;4(3):295-306. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Prostatic acid phosphatase expression in human tissues.

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Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among males in most Western countries. Autologous cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer seeks to induce tumor-specific immunity in the patient and is consequently dependent on a suitable target antigen and effective presentation of that antigen to the patient's immune system. Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) has been tested as a target antigen due to its high and apparently specific expression in the prostate. We used a variety of approaches to analyze PAP expression, including immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We complemented these laboratory-based techniques with an in silico analysis of reported PAP expression in human cDNA libraries. Our studies confirmed that, while PAP expression is not restricted to prostate tissues, its expression in other human tissues is approximately 1-2 orders of magnitude less than that observed in the prostate. The relative specificity of PAP expression in the prostate supports its use as a target of autologous cellular immunotherapy. The approach described here, involving the use of multiple correlates of tissue-specific expression, is warranted as a prerequisite in selecting any suitable target for immunotherapy.


Prostatic acid phosphatase; immunohistochemistry; immunotherapy; prostate cancer; quantitative polymerase chain reaction

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