Prostate cancer proteomics: The urgent need for clinically validated biomarkers



Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer diagnosis and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Currently, serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the only biomarker widely used in the diagnosis and management of patients with PCa. However, PSA lacks diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, leading to false-negative and false-positive test results. PSA cannot distinguish indolent from aggressive disease, leading to many patients being over-treated with associated side-effects. Furthermore, PSA is unable to identify which tumors are likely to become unresponsive to treatment at an early stage. Thus, there is an urgent need for clinically validated biomarkers which will improve the diagnosis and management of PCa. Given the heterogeneity of PCa it is likely that a panel of biomarkers will be required. In the quest for PCa biomarkers, a wide range of samples including urine, serum, tissues, and cell lines have been studied using proteomic approaches such as 2-DE, SELDI-TOF, SILAC, ICAT, iTRAQ, and MALDI-IMS. The value of these technologies, and other emerging platforms such as selected reaction monitoring (SRM) and multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), are discussed in the context of biomarker discovery, validation and addressing the “bottle-necks” that exist prior to clinical translation.