Expression of the angiogenic factor thymidine phosphorylase/platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor in primary bladder cancers.
O'Brien TS., Fox SB., Dickinson AJ., Turley H., Westwood M., Moghaddam A., Gatter KC., Bicknell R., Harris AL.
Thymidine phosphorylase (TP), also known as platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor, has been implicated in bladder cancer angiogenesis. To examine its role more clearly, we have quantified and localized its expression using Western analysis and immunohistochemistry in a series of 105 bladder cancers. We have also assessed the relationship between TP expression and other tumor parameters including quantitative angiogenesis, p53 status, ploidy, and survival. By Western analysis, TP expression was 5-fold higher in tumors than in normal bladder samples (P < 0.02). Expression was 15-fold higher in invasive tumors than in normal bladder (P < 0.001) and 8-fold higher than in superficial tumors (P < 0.005). Immunohistochemistry of the tumors showed TP was present in the neoplastic epithelium in 27% of the tumors, in the inflammatory cells in 72% of the tumors, in stromal cells in 30% of the tumors, and in tumor-associated endothelium in 11% of the tumors. Expression by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry was significantly up-regulated in tumors compared with normal bladder (P < 0.05). Tumor cell TP expression correlated with tumor grade (P < 0.02), but there was no correlation between tumor cell TP expression and tumor stage (P = 0.46), ploidy (P = 0.52), p53 expression (P = 0.9), tumor vascularity (P = 0.8), relapse-free survival (P = 0.57), or overall survival (P = 0.94). TP protein is expressed in bladder cancers, and expression is associated with an aggressive phenotype. Because TP can activate a number of cytotoxic agents, it provides a potential therapeutic target in bladder cancer.