Sex steroid hormone receptors in bladder cancer: Usefulness in differential diagnosis and implications in histogenesis of bladder cancer.

In rare cases, differential diagnosis between bladder cancer (BC) and gynecological tract cancer (GTC) is difficult because of anatomical proximity and morphological similarity. We analyzed expression status of sex steroid hormone receptors in BC in this study. First, we investigated their usefulness as a histological marker for differential diagnosis. Second, we considered their roles in BC histogenesis.

Estrogen receptor α (ERα) and progesterone receptor (PgR) expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry in 125 BCs obtained by transurethral resection or biopsy, then in nonneoplastic background mucosa (trigone, fundus, and dome) of 33 total cystectomy samples. They were evaluated as positive when ≥ 1% of 500 subject cells were immunoreactive with moderate or strong intensities.

ERα and PgR were positive in 38.4% and 3.2% of BCs, respectively, suggesting that ERα status alone could not definitely differentiate between BC and GTC. ERα expression was not significantly associated with age and sex of BC patients and histopathology of BCs. Although not significant, ERα expression was more frequent in higher grade (G1/G2 vs. G3/G4; P = 0.143) and marginally associated with advanced stage of BCs (pTis/pTa/pT1 vs. pT2/pT3, P = 0.056). ERα expression was significantly more frequent in background mucosa with ERα-positive BC (In the epithelium and stroma; both P < 0.001). ERα expression was continuously observed from normal to malignant epithelium in some cases. Although not significant, Brunn's nest or cystitis glandularis was more frequent in background mucosa with ERα-positive BC (P = 0.218). Analyses of nonneoplastic mucosa in cystectomy revealed that ERα was more frequently positive in urothelium of trigone, a predilection site for cystitis glandularis, than those of fundus and dome, with a significant difference between trigone and dome (P = 0.034). These data suggest that chronic inflammation may up-regulate ERα in the background epithelium, especially in trigone, and ERα expression in BC might be the reflection of bladder epithelium from which BC arose.

Usefulness of ERα was limited in differential diagnosis between BC and GTC. ERα up-regulation might not play a critical role in the development of BC because it was already noted in the background bladder mucosa.

Urologic oncology. 2019 Feb 06 [Epub ahead of print]

Yasuo Imai, Shuhei Noda, Chiaki Matsuyama, Ayako Shimizu, Takao Kamai

Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Ota Memorial Hospital, SUBARU Health Insurance Society, Gunma, Japan; Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Dokkyo Medical University, Tochigi, Japan. Electronic address: ., Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Dokkyo Medical University, Tochigi, Japan., Department of Urology, Dokkyo Medical University, Tochigi, Japan.

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