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Keywords:

  • prostate cancer;
  • small cell carcinoma;
  • adenocarcinoma;
  • PC3;
  • LNCaP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The majority of the prostatic cancers are adenocarcinomas characterized by glandular formation and the expression of luminal differentiation markers androgen receptor (AR) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Most adenocarcinomas are indolent and androgen-dependent. Hormonal therapy that inhibits AR signaling produces symptomatic relief in patients with advanced and metastatic adenocarcinomas. Prostatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (SCNC) is a variant form of prostate cancer (PC). In contrast to adenocarcinoma, the tumor cells of SCNC do not form glands and are negative for AR and PSA. SCNC is extremely aggressive and does not respond to hormonal therapy. The purpose of this study was to compare the important and relevant features of two most commonly used PC cell lines, LNCaP and PC3, with prostatic adenocarcinoma and SCNC.

METHODS

Xenograft tumors of LNCaP and PC3 were prepared and compared with human prostatic adenocarcinoma and SCNC for the expression of key signaling molecules by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis.

RESULTS

LNCaP cells express AR and PSA and their growth is inhibited by androgen withdrawal, similar to human prostatic adenocarcinoma. PC3 cells do not express AR and PSA and their proliferation is independent of androgen, similar to SCNC. Adenocarcinoma cells and LNCaP cells are negative for neuroendocrine markers and stem cell-associated marker CD44 while SCNC and PC3 cells are positive. LNCaP cells have identical cytokeratin profiles to adenocarcinoma while PC3 cells have cytokeratin profiles similar to SCNC.

CONCLUSION

LNCaP cells share common features with adenocarcinoma while PC3 cells are characteristic of SCNC. Prostate 71:1668–1679, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.