Objective: To describe the preliminary identification of serum proteins that may be diagnostic markers in prostate cancer.
Patients and methods: The study included 11 men referred for treatment of localized prostate cancer, 12 with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 12 disease-free controls. For serum protein analysis, the protein-chip array surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI) technique was used (Ciphergen Biosystems, Fremont, CA). SELDI combines protein-chip technology with time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and offers the advantages of speed, simplicity and sensitivity.
Results: Three protein peaks were identified in the serum of men with prostate cancer and BPH, but not in controls, with relative molecular masses of 15.2, 15.9 and 17.5 kDa. These three proteins were significantly associated with BPH and prostate cancer when compared with controls (P = 0.001, 0.004, and 0.011, respectively, Kruskal-Wallis test). Interestingly, the 17.5 kDa protein was more abundant in five men with stage T1 prostate cancer than in eight with stage T2 (P = 0.016, two tailed Mann-Whitney U-test corrected for ties).
Conclusions: These proteins, particularly the 15.9 kDa one, may be used for the diagnosis or monitoring of prostate cancer and differentiation from BPH, and have the potential for antibody-based chip SELDI-TOF technology. Identified proteins may be targets for immunotherapy.