Mast cells are novel independent prognostic markers in prostate cancer and represent a target for therapy

Anna Johansson, Stina Rudolfsson, Peter Hammarsten, Sofia Halin, Kristian Pietras, Jonathan Jones, Pär Stattin, Lars Egevad, Torvald Granfors, Pernilla Wikström, Anders Bergh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Mast cells affect growth in various human tumors, but their role in prostate cancer (PC) is unclear. Here, we identify mast cells as independent prognostic markers in PC using a large cohort of untreated PC patients with a long follow-up. By analyzing mast cells in different tissue compartments, our data indicate that intratumoral and peritumoral mast cells have anti- opposed to protumor properties. Intratumoral mast cells negatively regulate angiogenesis and tumor growth, whereas peritumoral mast cells stimulate the expansion of human prostate tumors. We also observed mast cell recruitment particularly to the peritumoral compartment in men during the formation of castrate-resistant prostate tumors. In our ortothopic rat model, mast cells accumulated in the peritumoral tissue where they enhanced angiogenesis and tumor growth. In line with this, prostate mast cells expressed high levels of the angiogenic factor FGF-2. Similar to the situation in men, mast cells infiltrated rat prostate tumors that relapsed after initially effective castration treatment, concurrent with a second wave of angiogenesis and an up-regulation of FGF-2. We conclude that mast cells are novel independent prognostic markers in PC and affect tumor progression in animals and patients. In addition, peritumoral mast cells provide FGF-2 to the tumor micro environment, which may contribute to their stimulating effect on angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1041
Number of pages11
JournalThe American Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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