Background: The urokinase plasminogen activating system (uPAS) is implicated in neoplastic progression and high tissue levels of uPAS components correlate with a poor prognosis in different human cancers. Despite that, relative few studies are available on the expression and function of the uPAS components in human seminomas. In the present study we characterized the expression of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), its cognate receptor (uPAR) and the uPA inhibitors PAI-1 and PAI-2 in normal human testis and seminomas.Methods: The expression of the above genes was evaluated by means of quantitative RT-PCR, western blot, zymographic analysis and immunohistochemistry.Results: Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of 14 seminomas demonstrated that uPA and uPAR mRNAs were, with respect to control tissues, increased in tumor tissues by 3.80 ± 0.74 (p <0.01) and 6.25 ± 1.18 (p <0.01) fold, respectively. On the other hand, PAI-1 mRNA level was unchanged (1.02 ± 0.24 fold), while that of PAI-2 was significantly reduced to 0.34 ± 0.18 (p <0.01) fold. Western blot experiments performed with protein extracts of three seminomas and normal tissues from the same patients showed that uPA protein levels were low or undetectable in normal tissues and induced in tumor tissues. On the same samples, zymographic analysis demonstrated increased uPA activity in tumor tissue extracts. Western blot experiments showed that also the uPAR protein was increased in tumor tissues by 1.83 ± 0.15 fold (p <0.01). The increased expression of uPA and uPAR was further confirmed by immunohistochemical staining performed in 10 seminomas and autologous uninvolved peritumoral tissues. Finally, variation in the mRNA level of PAI-1 significantly correlated with tumor size.Conclusions: We demonstrated the increased expression of uPA and uPAR in human seminomas with respect to normal testis tissues, which may be relevant in testicular cancer progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research