Purpose: We reviewed the pertinent literature and discuss high throughput approaches to the identification of molecular markers characteristic of prostate cancer.
Materials and methods: A PubMed search was performed for expression array studies comparing prostate cancer tissues with nonmalignant tissues and serum proteomic studies comparing patients with prostate cancer and controls.
Results: The expression of several genes may help distinguish prostate cancer cells from nonmalignant prostatic epithelial cells. A few genes, such as those coding for hepsin, LIM protein and alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase, have consistently been identified as being over expressed in cancer cells compared with nonmalignant cells. Proteomic analysis using mass spectroscopy has identified spectral patterns that have a significant correlation with the presence of prostate cancer. The optimal presentation of the spectra may depend highly on technical factors and experimental protocols have yet to be standardized among laboratories. Moreover, to our knowledge the serum proteins that comprise the mass spectral patterns of prostate cancer have yet to be identified.
Conclusions: High throughput techniques have the potential to aid in prostate cancer diagnosis, early detection and developmental therapies. Markers with the potential to aid in diagnosis have been identified and targets for imaging or therapeutic approaches appear to be at hand. Mass spectral analysis of serum is in the early stages and it requires standardization of technical parameters among laboratories. In addition, the identification of target proteins will contribute to ease of detection and cross-laboratory verification.