Prostate Cancer and the Search for Novel Biomarkers
Haj-Ahmad, Taha Alexander
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The primary objective of this research project was to identify prostate cancer (PCa) -specific biomarkers from urine. This was done using a multi-faceted approach that targeted (1) the genome (DNA); (2) the transcriptome (mRNA and miRNA); and (3) the proteome. Toward this end, urine samples were collected from ten healthy individuals, eight men with PCa and twelve men with enlarged, non-cancerous prostates or with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Urine samples were also collected from the same patients (PCa and BPH) as part of a two-year follow-up. Initially urinary nucleic acids and proteins were assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively for characteristics either unique or common among the groups. Subsequently macromolecules were pooled within each group and assessed for either protein composition via LC-MS/MS or microRNA (miRNA) expression by microarray. A number of potential candidates including miRNAs were identified as being deregulated in either pooled PCa or BPH with respect to the healthy control group. Candidate biomarkers were then assessed among individual samples to validate their utility in diagnosing PCa and/or differentiating PCa from BPH. A number of potential targets including deregulation of miRNAs 1825 and 484, and mRNAs for Fibronectin and Tumor Protein 53 Inducible Nuclear Protein 2 (TP53INP2) appeared to be indicative of PCa. Furthermore, deregulation of miR-498 appeared to be indicative of BPH. The sensitivities and specificities associated with using deregulation in many of these targets to subsequently predict PCa or BPH were also determined. This research project has identified a number of potential targets, detectable in urine, which merit further investigation towards the accurate identification of PCa and its discrimination from BPH. The significance of this work is amplified by the non-invasive nature of the sample source from which these candidates were derived, urine. Many cancer biomarker discovery studies have tended to focus primarily on blood (plasma or serum) and/or tissue samples. This is one of the first PCa biomarker studies to focus exclusively on urine as a sample source.