Objectives: To describe the expression of a potential new tumor marker, human glandular kallikrein 2 (hK2), in primary adenocarcinoma and lymph node metastases that may be useful as an adjunct to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer.
Methods: We evaluated 151 radical prostatectomy specimens removed at Mayo Clinic with node-positive adenocarcinoma to compare cytoplasmic expression of hK2, pro-hK2, and PSA in benign tissue, prostate adenocarcinoma, and lymph node metastases. Monoclonal antibodies for mature hK2 (hK2-G586), pro-hK2 (pro-hK2-G464), and PSA (PSA-773) were used. A polyclonal antibody for PSA was also used. Immunoreactivity in each case was tested to determine whether cancer recurrence could be predicted.
Results: Intense epithelial cytoplasmic immunoreactivity was observed in every case for hK2-G586, pro-hK2-G464, PSA-773, and polyclonal PSA (100% of cases, respectively). The intensity and extent of hK2 expression was greater in lymph node metastases than in primary cancer; furthermore, the expression in primary cancer was greater than in benign epithelium. Pro-hK2 was expressed in a greater percentage of cells in primary cancer than in benign tissue; furthermore, pro-hK2 was expressed to a greater extent in primary cancer than in lymph node metastases. In marked contrast to mature hK2, monoclonal PSA immunoreactivity was expressed to a higher extent in primary cancer than in lymph node metastases. Polyclonal PSA showed an incremental increase in expression from benign tissue to primary cancer and a further increase in expression in lymph node metastases.
Conclusions: hK2 was expressed in every cancer, and the expression incrementally increased from benign epithelium to primary cancer and lymph node metastases. Pro-hK2 was expressed to the greatest extent in primary cancer. Monoclonal PSA displayed inverse immunoreactivity compared with hK2. Polyclonal PSA showed incremental increases, suggesting that both hK2 and PSA were being detected. Tissue expression of hK2 appears to be regulated independently of PSA in benign epithelium, adenocarcinoma, and lymph node metastases.