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Although prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has been widely used for early detection of prostate cancer, PSA has problems with specificity and prediction of pathological stage. Therefore, a new marker for prostate cancer is urgently required. We examined expression of a novel carbohydrate antigen, β1,4-GalNAc-disialyl-Lc4, defined by the monoclonal antibody RM2, in prostate cancer using 75 cases of radical prostatectomy specimens. RM2 immunoreactivity was negative to weak in all benign glands, and weak to moderate in high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. In prostatic adenocarcinoma, RM2 immunoreactivity was negative to weak (lower expression) in 20 cases, and moderate to strong (higher expression) in 55 cases. A clear difference of RM2 expression level was observed between Gleason patterns 3 and ≥4. Higher expression of RM2 antigen was significantly associated with primary Gleason pattern ≥4, high Gleason score (≥8), larger tumor volume and advanced tumor stage. Furthermore, 5-year PSA failure-free survival was significantly lower in the higher expression group. However, no significant relationship was observed between RM2 expression level and preoperative serum PSA. Western blot analysis in prostate cancer cell lines PC3 and LNCap revealed that major 49-kDa and minor 39-kDa glycoproteins were common to both cells, but there was an increase of 59- and 125-kDa glycoproteins unique to LNCap and an increase of 88- and 98-kDa glycoproteins unique to PC3. RM2 antigen is a new histological marker for prostate cancer that may reflect the Gleason grading system. Identification of the glycoproteins carrying the RM2 antigen will provide new insights into the properties of prostate cancer. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.