Objectives: To investigate the prothymosin-alpha (PTMA) expression in human bladder cancer using tissue microarrays. Methods: Two tissue microarray slides of 50 bladder tumors and 42 paired normal adjacent tissues were investigated using immunohistochemical staining. The staining distribution was categorized as negative, nuclear, cytoplasmic, and mixed expression. Quantitative immunoreactivity was measured using image analysis, as represented by the integrated optical density for each tissue core. Results: In 36 of 42 normal adjacent tissues, positive PTMA immunoreactivity could be seen in some nuclei of the normal urothelial cells, but not, or only minimally, in the cytoplasm and underlying submucosal tissues. A statistically significant enhancement of PTMA expression was found in bladder tumors of each grade compared with the normal adjacent tissue (P < .0001 for normal adjacent tissues vs grade 1, 2, or 3 tumors, paired t test). Of 48 transitional cell carcinoma specimens, only 4 (8.3%) were graded as negative and 44 (91.7%) were positive for PTMA expression, including nuclear (n = 8), cytoplasmic (n = 12), and mixed expression (n = 24) patterns. A statistically significant correlation was found between high grade and mixed expression (P = 0.0020, χ2 test). Conclusions: Increased PTMA expression was found in human bladder cancers compared with the paired normal adjacent bladder tissue. The distribution of PTMA expression was changed in high-grade tumors. The clinical significance of such an aberrant PTMA expression in bladder cancer is worthy of additional investigation.
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