Aims: Hydatidiform mole (HM) is the most common type of gestational trophoblastic disease. A proportion of patients with HM develop gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) requiring chemotherapy. The aim was to identify differentially expressed genes that are associated with development of GTN.
Methods and results: Using cDNA microarray, differential expression of prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA) was identified in HMs that developed GTN compared with those that spontaneously regressed. Significant overexpression of PSCA RNA (P = 0.037) and protein (P < 0.05) in aggressive HM was verified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemical analysis in 10 first-trimester placentas, 36 HM that subsequently regressed and 11 HM that developed GTN. A high level of PSCA expression was also found in three choriocarcinomas and three placental site trophoblastic tumours. A positive correlation was observed between PSCA expression and proliferation and apoptotic indices as assessed by Ki67 (P = 0.01), mcm7 (P = 0.001) and M30 (P = 0.016), as well as p53 (P < 0.01), p21WAF1/CIP1 (P < 0.01) and mdm2 (P = 0.002) expression.
Conclusions: Overexpression of PSCA is associated with development of GTN in HM. PSCA probably plays a role in the regulation of cell growth through p53-related signaling pathways.