The [3H]estramustine-binding macromolecule in human prostate was partially characterized using a number of chromatographic procedures. Although human estramustine-binding protein (HEMBP) had a marked tendency to aggregate in several systems, a molecular weight of about 54,000 was determined by gel filtration on Sephacryl S-200 Superfine and high-performance liquid chromatography. A sedimentation-coefficient of about 3.6S was obtained for HEMBP when analyzed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Isoelectric focusing in polyacrylamide gels indicated an isoelectric point of 4.7 to 4.8, which was in agreement with the elution position of HEMBP following chromatofocusing on Polybuffer Exchanger 94. Furthermore, HEMBP was eluted from diethylaminoethyl-Sepharose with 0.23 m KCI, was retained by concanavalin A-Sepharose (indicating that HEMBP is a glycoprotein), but did not interact with Affi-Gel Blue.

Special efforts were concentrated on establishing that HEMBP was a species distinct from human serum albumin. Separation between the [3H]estramustine-labeled HEMBP and the [3H]estramustine-human serum albumin complex was obtained both on sucrose density gradients by chromatography on Affi-Gel Blue, by chromatofocusing, by gel filtration, by isoelectric focusing, and on concanavalin A-Sepharose by affinity chromatography.

Twenty-two of 27 human benign hyperplastic prostate cytosol samples were found to contain protein immunochemically similar to estramustine-binding protein (EMBP) purified from rat ventral prostate as determined by the EMBP radioimmunoassay method. Concentrations from 0.2 to 139.6 ng EMBP per mg of total cytosolic protein (mean, 19.3) were determined. Furthermore, four of seven prostatic cancer specimens as well as two of two normal prostatic specimens were also found to contain rat EMBP-immunoreactive material.

The unequivocal demonstration of the presence of a HEMBP is of great potential interest in consideration of estramustine phosphate (Estracyt) therapy against prostatic carcinoma. It is not inconceivable that the concentration of HEMBP in the carcinomatous tissue will be of significance in determining the drug uptake in the malignant tissue.

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