BCL-2 proto-oncogene expression in prostate cancer and its relationship to the prostatic neuroendocrine cell
Prostatic adenocarcinoma has a divergent response to androgen ablation and a varied long-term prognosis. BCL-2 is a proto-oncogene that prevents programmed cell death. Since androgen withdrawal induces apoptosis, it has been postulated that BCL-2 may play a role in androgen resistance. Neuroendocrine cells have been demonstrated in prostate cancer and have an adverse influence on long-term prognosis. This study demonstrates a proportional relationship between the tissue levels of BCL-2 and the neuroendocrine marker, neuron-specific enolase in 11 of 13 cases of primary prostate cancer. This relationship does not appear to exist in metastatic prostate cancer or in most nonprostate cancers. Direct immunohistochemical staining confirmed BCL-2 in six of the primary tumors, and these BCL-2-containing cells appeared to be intimately associated with tumor neuroendocrine cells.