Vol. 20, Nº 2

STRUCTURAL CHARACTERIZATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF ELASTIC SYSTEM FIBERS IN THE HUMAN PROSTATE AND SOME PROSTATIC LESIONS

Patricia S. L. Vilamaior; Sueli Suzigan; Hernandes F. Carvalho; Sebastião R.Taboga

KEYWORDS: Elastic system, extracellular matrix, histochemistry, prostate cancer, stroma

ABSTRACT: Prostatic disorders are accompanied by extensive but poorly understood modifications of the cells and surrounding extracellular matrix. In this study, we examined the distribution of the elastic system fibers in prostatic disorders compared to normal tissue. Sections of prostatic transurethral resections and/or radical prostatectomies were examined after staining with hematoxylin-eosin plus fluorescence microscopy and after Weigert´s staining for elastic fibers. Transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the ultrastructure of tissues from radical prostatectomy. A concentric fibrous extracellular matrix and smooth muscle cells were observed surrounding normal acini. The elastic fibers were thin and inconspicuous. In benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) the elastic components were of variable thickness and formed a three-dimensional network at the base of the epithelium. Conversely, increased variability in the elastic fiber distribution was observed in adenocarcinomas, depending on the tumor grade. In adenocarcinomas with little differentiation, in some hyperplasic acini, and in the stroma adjacent to tumoral mass, ruptured and residual elastic fibers indicative of matrix degradation or  remodeling were seen. In more undifferentiated tumors, a pre-elastic network, perhaps indicative of a new extracellular matrix microenvironment was seen. These results indicate that prostate cancer cell invasion involves extensive remodeling of the fibers of the elastic system.