The Expression of Pluripotency Marker Oct 3/4 in Prostate Cancer and Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

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Oct 3/4 (Octamer 3/4), a member of POU family has been considered as an important stem cell marker and essential transcription factor during human embryogenesis. In recent years, there have also been reports on presence of Oct 3/4 in differentiated benign and malignant human cells. The objective of this study was to investigate the transcription and the protein expression of Oct 3/4 isoforms in prostate cancer and benign prostate tissue.


Thirty sex adenocarcinomas and eight cases of benign prostate hyperplasia were studied. The transcription of Oct 3/4 was analyzed using RT-PCR approach associated with restriction digestion analysis. Oct 3/4 protein expression was studied by immunohistochemistry on paraffin sections using two different antibodies.


We identified only the transcript 2 of Oct 3/4 in prostate tumors and benign prostate hyperplasia. Immunohistochemistry verified these results, demonstrating only cytoplasmic localization of Oct 3/4. Transcription of type 1 of Oct 3/4 as well as protein expression with nuclear localization of Oct 3/4 isoform 1 were not detected. Oct 3/4 immunopositive tumors were also displayed neuroendocrine differentiation and showed androgen receptor immunopositivity. The stem cell markers CD44 and CD117 were not detected in Oct 3/4 immunopositive cells.


Our results indicate that only the cytoplasmic isoform 2 of Oct 3/4 is present in prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia. The malignant and benign prostate cells, which are immunopositive for variant 2 of Oct 3/4, lack other stem cell markers supporting previously published data that variant 2 of Oct 3/4 is not a pluripotency marker.

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