In order to identify new data to be able to better evaluate patient prognosis in prostatic carcinoma (PRCA), we started a study 6 years ago correlating in vitro parameters from human PRCA samples grown in tissue culture with histological diagnosis of the same tumors [Eur. Urol. 11:330-333, 1985]. The original study has been extended with more cases and updated with follow-up of the patients. To date, we evaluated 51 specimens of PRCA (18 grade I, 19 grade II, 13 grade III and 1 grade IV) and 8 of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Tissue samples were cultured in medium DME plus 10% fetal calf serum, 10% horse serum and 50 ng/ml each of hydrocortisone and insulin. Epithelial cells grown from the explants showed an average life in culture and morphological and biochemical features in good correlation with tumor grade. Short cultural life span, regular growth and positive secretion activity are typical of low-grade tumors, meanwhile the opposite is true for high-grade tumors. Of these patients, 15 were evaluable for prognosis, because they died or because they were followed-up for at least 3 years. In this group we compared tissue culture data with survival and found a fairly good correlation between growth parameters and clinical outcome of each case. Although more cases are needed to provide statistical significance to the results, the data we collected seem to indicate that low-grade tumors susceptible of poorer prognosis can be identified by a short-term tissue culture showing morphological atypias and long average life span. This method may be easily reproduced in any hospital equipped with a tissue culture unit.
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