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Intracapsular and well‑defined adenocarcinomas of the prostate are often surrounded by tissue areas that harbor molecular aberrations, including those of genetic, epigenetic and biochemical nature. This is known as field cancerization, or a field effect and denotes a state of pre‑malignancy. Such alterations in histologically normal tumor‑adjacent prostatic tissues have been recognized as clinically important and are potentially exploitable as biomarkers of disease and/or targets for preventative/therapeutic intervention. The authors have previously identified and validated two protein markers of field cancerization: The expressional upregulation of the transcription factor early growth response 1 (EGR‑1) and the lipogenic enzyme fatty acid synthase (FASN). However, the molecular etiology of prostate field cancerization, including EGR‑1 and FASN upregulation, remains largely unknown. It was thus hypothesized that extracellular vesicles, notably exosomes, released by tumor lesions may induce molecular alterations in the surrounding tissues, resulting in field cancerization, priming the tissue, and ultimately promoting multifocal tumorigenesis, which is often observed in prostate cancer. Towards testing this hypothesis, the current study, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time, presents correlative protein expression data, generated in disease‑free, tumor‑adjacent and cancerous human prostate tissues by quantitative immunofluorescence, between the exosomal marker CD9, and EGR‑1 and FASN. Despite the pilot character of the present study, and the static nature and heterogeneity of human tissues, the data suggest that CD9 expression itself is part of a field effect. In support of this hypothesis, the results suggest a possible contribution of exosomes to the induction of field cancerization in the prostate, particularly for EGR‑1. These findings were corroborated in established cell models of cancerous (LNCaP) and non‑cancerous (RWPE‑1) human prostate epithelial cells. The findings of this study warrant further investigation into the functional interface between exosomes and field cancerization, as a detailed understanding of this characterization may lead to the development of clinical applications related to diagnosis and/or prognosis and targeted intervention to prevent progression from pre‑malignancy to cancer.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Oncology, volume 56, in 2020.


Spandidos Publications



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