Loss of PLZF expression in prostate cancer by immunohistochemistry correlates with tumor aggressiveness and metastasis

Guang Qian Xiao, Pamela Unger, Qi Yang, Yayoi Kinoshita, Kyra Singh, Loralee McMahon, Kent Nastiuk, Kai Sha, John Krolewski, David Burstein

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28 Scopus citations


PLZF is a transcription repressor, which plays a critical role in development, spermatogenesis and oncogenesis. Down-regulation of PLZF has been found in various tumor cell lines. There has been virtually no tissue study on the expression of PLZF in prostate cancer (PCa). PCa is a heterogeneous disease, most of which are indolent and non-lethal. Currently there are no biomarkers that distinguish indolent from aggressive PCa; therefore there is an urgent need for such markers to provide clinical decision support. This study aimed to investigate the expression of PLZF by immunohistochemistry in different grade as well as metastatic PCa and to correlate the alteration of PLZF expression with PCa aggressiveness. We studied a total of 83 primary PCa from biopsies, 43 metastatic PCa and 8 paired primary and metastatic PCa from radical prostatectomies with lymph node dissection. Our results demonstrated that PLZF was strongly expressed in almost all (∼100%) benign luminal cells (n=77) and low grade (Gleason pattern 3) PCa (n=70) and weak or absent (100%) in basal cells (n=70). Decreased or lost expression of PLZF was evidenced in 26% of high-grade (Gleason 4 and 5) primary PCa (n=70) and 84% metastatic PCa (n=43). The primary high grade PCa in the prostatectomies shared similar PLZF loss/decrease and histomorphology to that of paired parallel lymph node metastases. These data demonstrated that down-regulation of PLZF is an important molecular process for tumor progression and loss of PLZF expression detected by routine immunohistochemistry is a promising and valuable biomarker for PCa aggressiveness and metastasis in the personalized care of PCa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0121318
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2015


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