Our study investigated whether endogenous IgM antibodies to gangliosides occur in patients with early stages of prostate cancer (CaP) patients, after defining ganglioside profiles of CaP cell lines. Immune and resorcinol staining detected the presence of gangliosides GM3, GM2, GD3, GD2 and GD1a but not GM1a, GD1b or GT1b in the extracts of normal prostatic epithelial cells (PrEC) and neoplastic androgen-insensitive (PC-3, DU145) and -sensitive (LNCaP-FGC and LNCaP-FGC-10) CaP cells. Using a sensitive ELISA, developed and validated in our laboratory, the titers of IgM against 8 gangliosides from sera of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (n = 11), organ-confined (T1/T2, n = 36) and unconfined (T3/T4, n = 27) CaP and age-matched healthy men (n = 11) were determined double-blinded. Using ANOVA and Fisher's least significant difference (LSD) methods, the log-titers among different groups were compared. CaP patients differed from healthy and BPH patients in increased titers against GD1a and decreased titers against GD3. Titers of antibodies to other gangliosides exhibited no difference between CaP patients and others. The specific augmentation of anti-GD1a IgM in patients with organ-confined CaP (stage T1/T2) but not in patients with unconfined CaP (stage T3/T4) or BPH or in healthy controls is striking. This finding together with identification of GD1a as a major ganglioside in CaP cell lines and with the accruing studies on the immunosuppressive nature of GD1a indicates that augmentation of anti-GD1a IgM in confined CaP may signify an early endogenous immune response to eliminate a “danger signal” from tumor microenvironment and circulation. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.