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Hum Pathol. 1998 Dec;29(12):1488-94.

Characterization of cytoplasmic secretory granules (PSG), in prostatic epithelium and their transformation-induced loss in dysplasia and adenocarcinoma.

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Urological Research Centre, Perth, Western Australia.


Cytoplasmic clarity is a histological feature of normal prostatic secretory cells, but in this study, tissue fixation in strong (>2.5%) glutaraldehyde dramatically altered cytological staining. Secretory cytoplasm appeared red and granular on routine stains because of myriad intensely staining eosinophilic granules (PSG). Immunostaining for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) showed their exclusive localization to the PSG. Electron microscopy confirmed these findings and also showed that after fixation in many agents, including formaldehyde, PSG appeared empty, accounting for the artefactual "clear cell" appearance on light microscopy. PSG were most densely concentrated apically in a bud-shaped luminal compartment in which cytokeratin was selectively absent. Normal exocrine secretion was visualized as detachment of apocrine buds or their in situ disintegration. Distinctively in dysplasia and almost all carcinomas, PSG were rare to absent, and proteases were free in the cytoplasm, often concentrated beneath the apical membrane. The apocrine compartment was absent, with no observed secretory mechanism. Tumor cells had dark amphiphilic cytoplasm after all fixatives. This provided a reliable method of distinguishing malignant from benign glands in tissues fixed in strong glutaraldehyde. Clear cell carcinomas, whose cytoplasm mimicked routinely fixed normal secretory cells, surprisingly had almost no PSG. Instead, their "granules" were lipid-filled vacuoles reflecting a secretory pathway not seen in normal cells, dysplasia, or the common "dark cell" carcinomas. These observations may define two distinctive biological pathways of prostate cancer evolution and may facilitate diagnostic decisions on needle biopsy samples.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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