Gene expression signature of benign prostatic hyperplasia revealed by cDNA microarray analysis




Despite the high prevalence of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in the aging male, little is known regarding the etiology of this disease. A better understanding of the molecular etiology of BPH would be facilitated by a comprehensive analysis of gene expression patterns that are characteristic of benign growth in the prostate gland. Since genes differentially expressed between BPH and normal prostate tissues are likely to reflect underlying pathogenic mechanisms involved in the development of BPH, we performed comparative gene expression analysis using cDNA microarray technology to identify candidate genes associated with BPH.


Total RNA was extracted from a set of 9 BPH specimens from men with extensive hyperplasia and a set of 12 histologically normal prostate tissues excised from radical prostatectomy specimens. Each of these 21 RNA samples was labeled with Cy3 in a reverse transcription reaction and cohybridized with a Cy5 labeled common reference sample to a cDNA microarray containing 6,500 human genes. Normalized fluorescent intensity ratios from each hybridization experiment were extracted to represent the relative mRNA abundance for each gene in each sample. Weighted gene and random permutation analyses were performed to generate a subset of genes with statistically significant differences in expression between BPH and normal prostate tissues. Semi-quantitative PCR analysis was performed to validate differential expression.


A subset of 76 genes involved in a wide range of cellular functions was identified to be differentially expressed between BPH and normal prostate tissues. Semi-quantitative PCR was performed on 10 genes and 8 were validated. Genes consistently upregulated in BPH when compared to normal prostate tissues included: a restricted set of growth factors and their binding proteins (e.g. IGF-1 and -2, TGF-β3, BMP5, latent TGF-β binding protein 1 and -2); hydrolases, proteases, and protease inhibitors (e.g. neuropathy target esterase, MMP2, alpha-2-macroglobulin); stress response enzymes (e.g. COX2, GSTM5); and extracellular matrix molecules (e.g. laminin alpha 4 and beta 1, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 2, lumican). Genes consistently expressing less mRNA in BPH than in normal prostate tissues were less commonly observed and included the transcription factor KLF4, thrombospondin 4, nitric oxide synthase 2A, transglutaminase 3, and gastrin releasing peptide.


We identified a diverse set of genes that are potentially related to benign prostatic hyperplasia, including genes both previously implicated in BPH pathogenesis as well as others not previously linked to this disease. Further targeted validation and investigations of these genes at the DNA, mRNA, and protein levels are warranted to determine the clinical relevance and possible therapeutic utility of these genes. Prostate 51: 189–200, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.