Background: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA/KLK3) and human kallikrein 2 (hK2/KLK2) belong to the human kallikrein gene family. These two highly homologous genes are specifically expressed in the prostate under androgen control. Expression of these is regulated by similar mechanisms but changes in their relative expression have been observed in prostate cancer.
Methods: We determined the relative levels of PSA and hK2 mRNA in benign and malignant prostate tissue using a quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. The mRNA of PSA and hK2 are reverse transcribed and amplified in one reaction with the same primers.
Results: The variation in the ratio of hK2/PSA mRNA was remarkably small, the difference between the highest and lowest values being three-fold. The ratio was significantly higher in WHO grade 2 compared to normal or benign prostatic hyperplasia tissue (P = 0.032 and P = 0.035, respectively) and in grade 3 compared to normal or benign prostatic hyperplasia tissue (P = 0.006 in both).
Conclusions: The new quantitative RT-PCR technique facilitates very accurate quantitation of the relative mRNA levels of homologous genes. Using this method we have shown that the ratio of hK2/PSA mRNA is higher in cancerous than in benign prostatic tissue.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.