The role of estrogen and its receptors in the etiology and progression of prostate cancer (PC) is poorly understood. In normal and malignant human prostate, estrogen receptor-α is expressed only in the stroma, whereas estrogen receptor-β (ERβ) is present in both normal stroma and epithelium. Because loss of ERβ expression is associated with prostate hyperplasia in ERβ-null mice, this study determined patterns of ERβ expression in normal, hyperplastic, and malignant human prostate and associations with clinical outcome. Five normal prostates from organ donors and 159 radical prostatectomy specimens from patients with clinically localized PC were assessed for ERβ expression using immunohistochemistry. ERβ-positivity was defined as ≥5% of cells demonstrating nuclear immunoreactivity. All of the five normal prostates showed strong ERβ-nuclear staining in >95% of the epithelium and 35% of the stromal cells. The number of ERβ-positive cases declined to 24.2% (38/157) in hyperplasia adjacent to carcinoma and 11.3% (18/159) in PCs. ERβ-positivity was related to decreased relapse-free survival (log-rank P = 0.04). Thus, loss of ERβ expression is associated with progression from normal prostate epithelium to PC, whereas those cancers that retained ERβ expression were associated with a higher rate of recurrence. These data identify the need to further investigate the potential role of ERβ in the regulation of prostate epithelial cell proliferation and the functional consequences of decreased ERβ expression in the evolution of PC.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jul 2001|