Objectives: To assess the feasibility of a novel proteomics approach to identify biomarkers associated with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) within serum and urine, because many clinical factors contribute to LUTS in men and women. These factors confound clinicians' abilities to reliably evaluate and treat LUTS. Previous studies identified candidate LUTS biomarkers, but none are clinically utilized.
Methods: Eighteen male and 18 female symptoms of lower urinary tract dysfunction research network (LURN) observational cohort study participants with LUTS (measured on the LUTS Tool questionnaire) were randomly selected. Twelve male and 12 female controls with minimal or no LUTS were recruited and matched for clinico-demographic characteristics. The SomaScan Assay (SomaLogic) was used to measure the abundance of 1305 proteins contained within urine and serum. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate reproducibility of assays, compare protein abundances, and estimate effect size.
Results: SomaScan assay results were more reproducible in serum than in urine. Within serum, there were many more differentially abundant proteins between cases and controls in males than in females. An enrichment/pathway analysis of the affected proteins in male and female subjects demonstrated that the enriched Gene Ontology processes were related to prostate morphogenesis in men and growth and inflammation in women.
Conclusion: The pilot study results support that the etiology and pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying LUTS may be sex-specific. While further studies involving larger numbers of subjects are warranted, our results support the feasibility of a novel proteomic approach to identify biomarkers for diagnostic classification of LUTS.
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