Comprehensive Evaluation of Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen Expression in the Vasculature of Renal Tumors: Implications for Imaging Studies and Prognostic Role

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Abstract

Purpose:

Prostate specific membrane antigen is expressed by the endothelium of many tumors. The aim of the study was to find a rationale for prostate specific membrane antigen based imaging and investigate the prognostic role of vascular prostate specific membrane antigen expression in patients with renal cell carcinoma.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 257 patients with renal cell carcinoma were included in study with a median followup exceeding 10.0 years. Prostate specific membrane antigen expression on tumor vessels was detected by immunohistochemistry. Vascular expression of FOLH1 gene (prostate specific membrane antigen) mRNA was investigated in clear cell carcinoma and papillary renal cell carcinoma using TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) data.

Results:

Endothelial prostate specific membrane antigen protein expression was higher in clear cell than in papillary and chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. Higher grade and stage, metastatic and lethal clear cell renal cell carcinoma showed higher prostate specific membrane antigen expression in tumor vessels. On univariate and multivariate analysis the intensity of positive vs negative endothelial prostate specific membrane antigen protein expression was significantly associated with overall survival. TCGA based analyses confirmed the prognostic role of vascular expression of FOLH1 mRNA. The analyses also supported the usefulness of prostate specific membrane antigen based imaging in cases of clear cell but not papillary renal cell carcinoma.

Conclusions:

We provide a rationale for further development of prostate specific membrane antigen targeted imaging in patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The prognostic role of prostate specific membrane antigen was determined at the protein level in clear cell renal cell carcinoma and at the mRNA level in clear cell and papillary renal cell carcinoma.

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