• biomarker;
  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay;
  • macrophage migration inhibitory factor;
  • prostate neoplasms;
  • prostate specific antigen



Cytokines are polypeptides that constitute a class of chemical mediator molecules that modulate cell growth by inducing specific target gene expression. The objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical usefulness of serum evaluation of the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in patients undergoing routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening.


In this preliminary, retrospective study, the authors report the development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for MIF determination in serum samples. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay investigated associations between MIF expression and prostate carcinoma (CaP). The authors developed a relative quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR assay to determine MIF mRNA amounts within laser-capture microscopy (LCM)-dissected prostate epithelial cells.


A comparison of serum MIF levels and total PSA levels identified a positive correlation (correlation coefficient [r2] = 0.61; P < 0.001; n = 509 patients), suggesting an association between elevated serum concentrations of these proteins and CaP. A correlation of serum MIF levels with a diagnosis of CaP demonstrated that patients with a previous CaP diagnosis had significantly elevated serum MIF concentrations (mean ± standard deviation, 6.8 ± 0.87 ng/mL; P < 0.001). To associate altered serum MIF levels with MIF mRNA expression within prostate epithelial cells, LCM-dissected prostate epithelial cells (formalin fixed biopsies from three different patients) were used to determine MIF mRNA amounts by PCR analysis. On average, MIF mRNA amounts were 6.5 times higher in CaP epithelial cells that were invasive to the margin compared with MIF mRNA amounts in normal prostate epithelial cells within the same biopsy specimen.


The ELISA data from the current study suggested an association between increased MIF expression and CaP and suggested that serum MIF concentration may serve as a prognostic marker for CaP. Cancer 2002;94:1449–56. © 2002 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.10354