The currently used prostate cancer serum marker has a low cancer specificity and improved diagnostics are needed. Here we evaluated whether autoantibodies are present in sera of prostate cancer patients and whether they are useful diagnostic markers for prostate cancer.METHODS.
Sera from 20 prostate cancer patients and 20 healthy controls were incubated on expression clone arrays containing more than 37,000 recombinant human proteins. Functional annotation clustering of the identified autoantigens was performed using the DAVID database. Autoantigens identified in the prostate cancer group were validated on microarrays using sera of 40 prostate cancer patients, 40 patients with elevated PSA levels but prostate cancer negative biopsies (benign disease), and 40 healthy controls.RESULTS.
We detected autoantibodies against 408 different antigens in sera of prostate cancer patients. One hundred seventy-four of these were exclusively detected in the cancer group compared to the healthy control group. Functional annotation clustering revealed an enrichment of RNA-associated, cytoskeleton, and nuclear proteins. The autoantibody panel was validated in serum samples of independent prostate cancer patients. Autoantibody profiles discriminated between prostate cancer patients and benign disease patients with an ROC curve AUC of 0.71. TTLL12, a protein recently described to be over-expressed in prostate cancer, was the highest ranked discrimination autoantigen.CONCLUSION.
A variety of autoantibodies were identified in sera of prostate cancer patients and provide a first step towards autoantibody diagnostics. Serum autoantibodies reflect the disease and represent valuable tools not only for prostate cancer, but also for other diseases affecting the immune response.