Research Projects

Identification of novel biomarkers for prostate cancer – Dr Karl-Heinz Storbeck

Identification of novel biomarkers for prostate cancer – Dr Karl-Heinz Storbeck

Dr Karl-Heinz Storbeck

Dr Karl-Heinz Storbeck

Dr Karl-Heinz Storbeck

Department of Biochemistry, University of Stellenbosch

Email: storbeck@sun.ac.za

Project Title

The identification of novel biomarkers for prostate cancer.

Project Description

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in the world. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) is currently the only biological marker (biomarker) routinely used to test for this disease. Increased PSA levels are, however, not unique to prostate cancer and also occur as a result of a number of benign conditions, including prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia. As a result only about 30 percent of men who have a prostate biopsy due to an elevated PSA level are diagnosed with prostate cancer. The use of PSA as a routine test for prostate cancer has therefore been brought into question with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF, 2012) recently stating that it does not recommend PSA screening, noting that “the potential benefit does not outweigh the expected harms”.

For this reason there is an urgent need for the identification of new biomarkers for this prevalent disease. The aim of the proposed study is to make use of the recent advances in Mass Spectrometrybased proteomic technologies to search for novel biomarkers for prostate cancer. We will screen the secretome (the proteins secreted from a cell) of four unique prostate cell lines: an androgen-dependent prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP; an androgen-independent prostate cancer cell line, PC3; a benign prostate hyperplasia cell line, BPH-1; and a normal healthy prostate cell line, PNT2C2. This strategy will enable us to identify biomarkers unique to prostate cancer and not BPH or healthy prostate cells.

Furthermore, as the progression of prostate cancer to castration resistant prostate cancer is dependent on the cancers ability to adapt to the use of adrenal androgen precursors (as opposed to testicular testosterone which is removed by castration) we will investigate the effect of different androgens (testicular testosterone vs adrenal androgen precursors) on the secretome of the prostate cell lines with the aim to identify biomarkers which can be used for the early diagnosis of the castration resistant condition.

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