The metabolites citrate, myo-inositol, and spermine are potential age-independent markers of prostate cancer in human expressed prostatic secretions

Prostate. 2008 May 1;68(6):620-8. doi: 10.1002/pros.20727.


Objectives: Due to specific physiological functions, prostatic tissues and fluids have unique metabolic profiles. In this study, proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-NMRS) is used to assess potential metabolic markers of prostate cancer (PCa) in human expressed prostatic secretions (EPS).

Methods: Metabolic profiles of EPS from 52 men with PCa and from 26 healthy controls were analyzed using quantitative (1)H-NMRS. The metabolites quantified included citrate, spermine, myo-inositol, lactate, alanine, phosphocholine, glutamine, acetate, and hydroxybutyrate. Logistic regression (LR) was used to model the risk of PCa based on metabolite concentrations while adjusting for age.

Results: The average age of the EPS donors with PCa was 58.0+/-7.0 years and 52.2+/-12.1 for the healthy donors. The median Gleason score for the men with PCa was 7 (range 5-9). The LR models indicated that the absolute concentrations of citrate, myo-inositol, and spermine were highly predictive of PCa and inversely related to the risk of PCa. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROC) for citrate, myo-inositol and spermine were 0.89, 0.87, and 0.79, respectively. At 90% sensitivity, these metabolites had specificities of 74%, 51%, and 34%, respectively. The LR analysis indicated that absolute levels of these three metabolites were independent of age.

Conclusions: The results indicate that citrate, myo-inositol and spermine are potentially important markers of PCa in human EPS. Further, the absolute concentrations of these metabolites in EPS appear to be independent of age, increasing the potential utility of these markers due to elimination of age as a confounding variable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Citric Acid / analysis
  • Citric Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inositol / analysis
  • Inositol / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • ROC Curve
  • Spermine / analysis
  • Spermine / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Citric Acid
  • Spermine
  • Inositol