A New Urine Test for Aggressive Prostate Cancer?

zhang and partin

Zhang and Partin: “There is a pressing need for differentiating low-risk and high-risk patients with prostate cancer.”

The test looks for proteins in the urine that are made by clinically significant prostate cancer.

“The majority of men with low-risk prostate cancer can be managed by active surveillance,” says Alan W. Partin, M.D., Ph.D., the Jakurski Family Director and Professor, “but there is a pressing need for differentiating low-risk and high-risk patients.”

In a recent study, Partin and colleagues have come up with a potential way to do this: a simple urine test that looks for proteins that are made by aggressive cancer. The study was led by Hui Zhang, M.S., Ph.D., Director of the Mass Spectrometry Core Facility at the Center for Biomarker Discovery and Translation.

The test uses quantitative glycoproteomics – a way to look at many different proteins all at once – to analyze proteins shed by prostate cancer that find their way into the urine. “Glycoproteins play essential roles in cancer development, and we found several glycoproteins made by aggressive prostate cancer,” says Partin. “They can be used either individually or in combination to detect patients with clinically significant cancer that needs to be treated.” Of these, one protein, urinary ACPP, outperformed the others.

“Urinary ACPP, used with a blood PSA test, can further improve our ability to discriminate aggressive cancer from cancer that can safely be monitored in active surveillance.”

In the study, the team analyzed quantitative mass spectrometry data of glycopeptides from urine samples of 74 men with aggressive (Gleason score 8 or higher) and 68 men with non-aggressive (Gleason score 6) prostate cancer. The next step is to validate these results with a larger, multi-center study. These results have been accepted for publication.