The expression of plasminogen- and colony-stimulating factor-1-associated markers was first investigated in seven bladder carcinoma cell lines and in 15 primary bladder tumors using RT-PCR (mRNAs), zymography (protein activity), ELISA and immunocytochemistry analysis (ICC) (protein levels). The mRNAs expression, the activity and the levels of the secreted proteins were not informative. Only urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPA-R/CD87) and possibly plasminogen activator inhibitor type-2 (PAI2) antigen expression at the cellular levels seem to be useful markers. uPA-R antigen expression correlated with the secretion of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) (P=0.016) and the motility of the bladder tumor cells (P=0.014), two markers associated with a poor prognosis in bladder carcinoma. To validate our technique and confirm these preliminary results, uPA-R and PAI2 antigen expression was determined in the imprints from 129 resected bladder carcinoma fragments. uPA-R correlated with the grade (P=0.002), tumor invasion (P=0.003) and the ploidy (P=0.05) of the bladder carcinomas and with the low overall survival (P=0.045) of the patients. PAI2 correlated only with the stage (P=0.02) and low overall survival (P=0.038). We conclude that in bladder carcinomas, studying the transcripts of PAs, PAIs, CSF-1 and its receptor, as well as measuring their concentration or activity in culture supernatants was of no clinical interest in terms of diagnostic or prognostic value. Only the ICC of uPA-R, which correlated with the major histopathological parameters of tumors and the low overall survival, proved to be a diagnostic and prognostic marker.
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