Objectives: Hepatocyte growth factor activator (HGFA) is responsible for proteolytic activation of the precursor form of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We attempted to clarify whether serum levels of HGFA could be used as a marker for prostate cancer.
Material and methods: Serum levels of total HGF and HGFA were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 99 healthy controls, 27 patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 119 patients with prostate cancer.
Results: : The mean+/-S.D. serum levels of HGFA in untreated prostate cancer and BPH cases were 0.42+/-0.24 and 0.50+/-0.26 ng/ml, respectively (no significant difference). Serum HGFA was significantly elevated in hormone-refractory prostate cancer (stage D3) compared to other stages, while HGF did not significantly differ with regard to clinical stage.
Conclusions: Serum HGFA tends was elevated in patients with advanced stage prostate cancer. Further studies in large groups of patients are needed to clarify the clinical value of HGFA.