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Am J Pathol. 1997 Aug;151(2):471-8.

Expression of P-cadherin identifies prostate-specific-antigen-negative cells in epithelial tissues of male sexual accessory organs and in prostatic carcinomas. Implications for prostate cancer biology.

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Lankenau Medical Research Center, Wynnewood, PA 19096, USA.


Cadherins constitute a family of calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion molecules the individual members of which are essential for the sorting of cells into tissues during development. In this study, we examined the expression of E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and P-cadherin in tissues obtained from radical prostatectomies. Epithelial cells of prostatic glands, ejaculatory ducts, and seminal vesicles expressed E-cadherin but not N-cadherin. P-cadherin was expressed in epithelial cells of the seminal vesicles and ejaculatory ducts. In the prostate it was limited to the basal cells of prostatic acini, glands with basal cell hyperplasia, and atrophic glands denuded of the luminal cells. All P-cadherin-positive cells were negative for prostatic-specific antigen. Prostatic cancers were mostly P-cadherin negative, but some tumors had P-cadherin-positive areas frequently located close to ejaculatory ducts and negative for prostatic-specific antigen. The mutually exclusive expression of P-cadherin and prostatic-specific antigen suggests that these proteins are involved in differential mechanisms of cell regulation in prostate cancer. P-cadherin may become a useful marker in the diagnosis and management of patients with prostate cancer and low levels of prostatic-specific antigen.

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