Purpose: Several immune based therapies targeting prostate cancer associated proteins are currently undergoing clinical investigation. In general, however, little is known about the immunogenicity of prostate cancer or which prostate cancer associated proteins elicit immune responses. We determine whether patients with prostate cancer have antibody immunity to known prostate cancer associated proteins, what the prevalence of this immunity is and whether immunity to individual proteins is associated with the stage of disease.
Materials and methods: We evaluated the inherent humoral immune response against prostate specific antigen (PSA), prostatic acid phosphatase, p53 and HER-2/neu, all known prostate cancer associated proteins, in 200 patients with various stages of disease and male controls.
Results: Antibody immunity to PSA was significantly different between the patient (11%, 22 of 200) and control populations (1.5%, 3 of 100, p = 0.02), and titers 1:100 or greater were particularly prevalent in the subgroup of patients with androgen independent disease (11%, 6 of 56). Antibody immunity to prostatic acid phosphatase and p53 was detected (5.5%, 11 of 200 and 6%, 12 of 200), and was not different from the control population (4%, 4 of 100, p = 0.57 and 7%, 7 of 100, p = 0.74). Antibody immunity to HER-2/neu was significantly higher in patients with prostate cancer (15.5%, 31 of 200) compared to controls (2%, 2 of 100, p = 0.0004), and titers 1:100 or greater were most prevalent in the subgroup of patients with androgen independent disease (16%, 9 of 56).
Conclusions: These findings suggest that prostate cancer is an immunogenic tumor. Moreover, for PSA and HER-2/neu the prevalence of antibody immunity was higher in patients with androgen independent disease, indicating that even patients with advanced stage prostate cancer can have an immune response to their tumor.