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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Gene expression down-regulation in CD90+ prostate tumor-associated stromal cells involves potential organ-specific genes

Laura E Pascal1237*, Young Ah Goo34, Ricardo ZN Vêncio35, Laura S Page12, Amber A Chambers12, Emily S Liebeskind12, Thomas K Takayama1, Lawrence D True6 and Alvin Y Liu123

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195, USA

2 Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195, USA

3 Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle WA 98103, USA

4 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195, USA

5 Department of Genetics, University of Sao Paulo's Medical School at Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

6 Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195, USA

7 LEP: Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:317  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-317

Published: 8 September 2009



The prostate stroma is a key mediator of epithelial differentiation and development, and potentially plays a role in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer. The tumor-associated stroma is marked by increased expression of CD90/THY1. Isolation and characterization of these stromal cells could provide valuable insight into the biology of the tumor microenvironment.


Prostate CD90+ stromal fibromuscular cells from tumor specimens were isolated by cell-sorting and analyzed by DNA microarray. Dataset analysis was used to compare gene expression between histologically normal and tumor-associated stromal cells. For comparison, stromal cells were also isolated and analyzed from the urinary bladder.


The tumor-associated stromal cells were found to have decreased expression of genes involved in smooth muscle differentiation, and those detected in prostate but not bladder. Other differential expression between the stromal cell types included that of the CXC-chemokine genes.


CD90+ prostate tumor-associated stromal cells differed from their normal counterpart in expression of multiple genes, some of which are potentially involved in organ development.