UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Steroidogenesis in Peripheral and Transition Zones of Human Prostate Cancer Tissue Deb, Subrata; Chin, Mei Yieng; Pham, Steven; Adomat, Hans; Hurtado-Coll, Antonio; Gleave, Martin E.; Tomlinson Guns, Emma S.


The peripheral zone (PZ) and transition zone (TZ) represent about 70% of the human prostate gland with each zone having differential ability to develop prostate cancer. Androgens and their receptor are the primary driving cause of prostate cancer growth and eventually castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). De novo steroidogenesis has been identified as a key mechanism that develops during CRPC. Currently, there is very limited information available on human prostate tissue steroidogenesis. The purpose of the present study was to investigate steroid metabolism in human prostate cancer tissues with comparison between PZ and TZ. Human prostate cancer tumors were procured from the patients who underwent radical prostatectomy without any neoadjuvant therapy. Human prostate homogenates were used to quantify steroid levels intrinsically present in the tissues as well as formed after incubation with 2 µg/mL of 17-hydroxypregnenolone (17-OH-pregnenolone) or progesterone. A Waters Acquity ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled to a Quattro Premier XE tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer using a C18 column was used to measure thirteen steroids from the classical and backdoor steroidogenesis pathways. The intrinsic prostate tissue steroid levels were similar between PZ and TZ with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), pregnenolone and 17-OH-pregnenolone levels higher than the other steroids measured. Interestingly, 5-pregnan-3,20-dione, 5-pregnan-3-ol-20-one, and 5-pregnan-17-ol-3,20-dione formation was significantly higher in both the zones of prostate tissues, whereas, androstenedione, testosterone, DHT, and progesterone levels were significantly lower after 60 min incubation compared to the 0 min control incubations. The incubations with progesterone had a similar outcome with 5-pregnan-3,20-dione and 5-pregnan-3-ol-20-one levels were elevated and the levels of DHT were lower in both PZ and TZ tissues. The net changes in steroid formation after the incubation were more observable with 17-OH-pregnenolone than with progesterone. In our knowledge, this is the first report of comprehensive analyses of intrinsic prostate tissue steroids and precursor-driven steroid metabolism using a sensitive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry assay. In summary, the PZ and TZ of human prostate exhibited similar steroidogenic ability with distinction in the manner each zone utilizes the steroid precursors to divert the activity towards backdoor pathway through a complex matrix of steroidogenic mechanisms.

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