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Histopathology. 2011 Dec;59(6):1240-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04073.x.

The role of secreted frizzled-related protein 2 expression in prostate cancer.

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Department of Pathology, RCSI Education & Research Centre, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Improved prostate cancer (PCa)-specific biomarkers are urgently required to distinguish between indolent and aggressive disease, in order to avoid overtreatment. In this study, we investigated the prostatic tissue expression of secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP)-2.


Following immunohistochemical analysis on PCa tissue microarrays with samples from 216 patients, strong/moderate SFRP-2 expression was observed in epithelial cells of benign prostatic hyperplasia, and negative/weak SFRP-2 expression was observed in the majority of tumour epithelia. However, among Gleason grade 5 carcinomas, 40% showed strong/moderate SFRP-2 expression and 60% showed negative SFRP-2 expression in epithelial cells. Further microscopic evaluation of Gleason grade 5 tumours revealed different morphological patterns, corresponding with differential SFRP-2 expression. The first subgroup (referred to as Type A) appeared to have a morphologically solid growth pattern, whereas the second subgroup (referred to as Type B) appeared to have a more diffuse pattern. Furthermore, 100% (4/4) of Type A patients experienced biochemical recurrence, as compared with 0% (0/6) of Type B patients.


These results imply: (i) that there is a loss of SFRP-2 expression from benign to malignant prostate glands; and (ii) differential SFRP-2 expression among two possible subgroups of Gleason grade 5 tumours.

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