Prostate-specific membrane antigen is undetectable in choroidal neovascular membrane

Katyanne Dantas Godeiro1, Ana Carolina de Arantes Frota1, Emilia Antecka2, Alexandre Nakao Odashiro1, Shawn Maloney2, Bruno Fernandes2, Miguel Noel Burnier1
1Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 3775 University Street, Room 216. Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, Canada; Department of Ophthalmology, Federal University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil, Rua Botucatu, Número 822. Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP, 04023-062, Brazil
2Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 3775 University Street, Room 216. Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, Canada
DOI: 10.1186/1477-3163-5-21


Background: Choroidal neovascular membrane (CNVM) is one of the leading causes of severe visual loss and is often associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Various modalities of treatment, including photocoagulation and surgery, are being considered as options, but with limited success. Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a type II membrane glycoprotein expressed in benign and malignant prostatic tissues, in some non-prostatic tissues, and in the endothelium of tumor-associated neovasculature of non-prostatic neoplasm. Some studies have suggested that the expression of PSMA is restricted to endothelium from tumor-associated neovasculature and might be stimulated by some tumor-secreted angiogenic factors. However, no previous study demonstrating PSMA expression in non-related tumor neovasculature, such as CNVM, has been performed to date. Furthermore, demonstration of PSMA expression in CNVM in AMD patients could reveal a novel target for antineovascular therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immunohistochemical expression of PSMA in CNVM from AMD.
Methods: Immunohistochemical analysis, with a standard avidin-biotin complex technique, was performed using an anti-PSMA mouse monoclonal antibody in 30 specimens of surgically excised CNVM from AMD patients. Antibody to an endothelial cell specific marker, factor VIII, was used to confirm the location of the endothelial cells.
Results: The angiogenic microvessels of the 30 cases demonstrated negative staining to PSMA while factor VIII was expressed in all cases. Seventy-five percent of the secretory-acinar epithelium of the prostatic hyperplasia specimen stained positive, confirming that the immunohistochemical technique was correctly performed.
Conclusion: The absence of PSMA expression in non-tumoral neovasculature supports the theory, previously suggested, that endothelial cell PSMA expression may be stimulated by one or more tumor-secreted angiogenic factors. Angiogenesis is very important in neoplasia and the endothelial expression of PSMA in tumor-associated neovasculature may represent a target for antineovasculature-based therapy. The absence of PSMA expression in CNVM suggests that PSMA may not be a potential target for antineovasculature-based therapy.