Elevated and altered expression of the multifunctional DNA base excision repair and redox enzyme Ape1/ref-1 in prostate cancer

Mark R. Kelley, Liang Cheng, Richard Foster, Renee Tritt, Jiazhong Jiang, John Broshears, Michael Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


The DNA base excision repair pathway is responsible for the repair of cellular alkylation and oxidative DNA damage. A crucial step in the BER pathway involves the cleavage of baseless sites in DNA by an apurinic/apyrimidinic or baseless (AP) endonuclease (Ape1/ref-1), which is a multifunctional enzyme that acts not only as an AP endonuclease but also as a redox-modifying factor for a variety of transcription factors including Fos, Jun, paired box containing genes (PAX), nuclear factor-κKB, hypoxia-inducible factor α (HIF-1α), HIF-like factor (HLF), p53, and others. The expression of Ape1/ref-1 in prostate has not been characterized previously. Ape1/ref-1 nuclear immunohistochemistry levels, scored for intensity as 1+, 2+, or 3+, were 91, 3, and 6% in benign hypertrophy (BPH), 0, 42, and 58% in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) and 3, 30, and 67% in prostate cancer, respectively, clearly showing an increase in Ape1/ref-1 nuclear staining in the PIN and cancer compared with BPH. Furthermore, the level of cytoplasmic staining of Ape1/ref-1 in cancer and PIN were elevated (42 and 36%, respectively) compared with BPH (5%). There was no correlation with prostate-specific antigen values or doubling times to Ape1/ref-1 levels. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that Ape1/ref-1 is dramatically elevated in prostate cancer, the level of staining of Ape1/ref-1 increases from low in BPH to intense in PIN and cancer, and there is an increase in the amount of Ape1/ref-1 in the cytoplasm of PIN and cancer compared with BPH. Given these results, we conclude that Ape1/ref-1 may be a diagnostic marker for early prostate cancer and play a role, through its repair, redox, or both functions, in the physiology of the early development of prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-830
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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