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Biomed Rep. 2013 Nov;1(6):855-860. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Roles of autophagy-related genes Beclin-1 and LC3 in the development and progression of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

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Department of Urology, Lu'an Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Lu'an, Anhui 237005, P.R. China.
Institute of Urology, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310022, P.R. China.
Department of Urology, Union Hospital of Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350001, P.R. China.


Prostate cancer (PCa) is common in Western populations and the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality among males in North America, with an increasing morbidity in China and other Asian countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the protein expression of autophagy-related genes Beclin-1 and LC3 in patients with prostate cancer (PCa) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and elucidate their association with p53 and Bcl-2. The total protein of 34 PCa and 50 BPH samples was extracted and the expression of Beclin-1 and LC3 was analyzed by western blotting assay. Subsequently, a total of 96 paraffin-embedded BPH tissue samples was subdivided into 2 groups, one group in which patients had received 5α-reductase inhibitor, due to its effect of androgen ablation, and the control group, in which patients had not received the 5α-reductase inhibitor. The samples were randomly collected and examined using immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis. The western blot analysis demonstrated that Beclin-l and LC3 expression was higher in BPH tissues compared to PCa tissues (P<0.001). There was no statistically significant difference between PCas of different Gleason scores (P>0.05). The result of IHC revealed that Beclin-l and LC3 expression in the group of patients who had received the 5α-reductase inhibitor was significantly higher compared to that in the control group; however, the expression of Bcl-2 and p53 was lower (P<0.05). Beclin-1 expression exhibited a negative correlation with Bcl-2 (r=-0.402, P<0.001), whereas LC3 expression exhibited a positive correlation with Beclin-1 (r=0.345, P=0.001) and a negative correlation with Bcl-2 (r=-0.216, P=0.035). It was suggested that autophagy-related genes Beclin-l and LC3 may be involved in the development and progression of PCa. In addition, the expression of these genes was higher in patients with BPH who had received a 5α-reductase inhibitor, due to androgen reduction. As a result, the induced autophagy may reduce the risk of PCa.


autophagy; autophagy-related genes; benign prostatic hyperplasia; prostate cancer

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