The Proteome of Primary Prostate Cancer

Diego Iglesias-Gato*, Pernilla Wikström, Stefka Tyanova, Charlotte Lavallee, Elin Thysell, Jessica Carlsson, Christina Hägglöf, Jürgen Cox, Ove Andrén, Pär Stattin, Lars Egevad, Anders Widmark, Anders Bjartell, Colin C. Collins, Anders Bergh, Tamar Geiger, Matthias Mann, Amilcar Flores-Morales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Clinical management of the prostate needs improved prognostic tests and treatment strategies. Because proteins are the ultimate effectors of most cellular reactions, are targets for drug actions and constitute potential biomarkers; a quantitative systemic overview of the proteome changes occurring during prostate cancer (PCa) initiation and progression can result in clinically relevant discoveries. Objectives To study cellular processes altered in PCa using system-wide quantitative analysis of changes in protein expression in clinical samples and to identify prognostic biomarkers for disease aggressiveness. Design, setting, and participants Mass spectrometry was used for genome-scale quantitative proteomic profiling of 28 prostate tumors (Gleason score 6-9) and neighboring nonmalignant tissue in eight cases, obtained from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded prostatectomy samples. Two independent cohorts of PCa patients (summing 752 cases) managed by expectancy were used for immunohistochemical evaluation of proneuropeptide-Y (pro-NPY) as a prognostic biomarker. Results and limitations Over 9000 proteins were identified as expressed in the human prostate. Tumor tissue exhibited elevated expression of proteins involved in multiple anabolic processes including fatty acid and protein synthesis, ribosomal biogenesis and protein secretion but no overt evidence of increased proliferation was observed. Tumors also showed increased levels of mitochondrial proteins, which was associated with elevated oxidative phosphorylation capacity measured in situ. Molecular analysis indicated that some of the proteins overexpressed in tumors, such as carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2, fatty acid transporter), coatomer protein complex, subunit alpha (COPA, vesicle secretion), and mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 and 2 (MSK1/2, protein kinase) regulate the proliferation of PCa cells. Additionally, pro-NPY was found overexpressed in PCa (5-fold, p < 0.05), but largely absent in other solid tumor types. Pro-NPY expression, alone or in combination with the ERG status of the tumor, was associated with an increased risk of PCa specific mortality, especially in patients with Gleason score ≤ 7 tumors. Conclusions This study represents the first system-wide quantitative analysis of proteome changes associated to localized prostate cancer and as such constitutes a valuable resource for understanding the complex metabolic changes occurring in this disease. We also demonstrated that pro-NPY, a protein that showed differential expression between high and low risk tumors in our proteomic analysis, is also a PCa specific prognostic biomarker associated with increased risk for disease specific death in patients carrying low risk tumors. Patient summary The identification of proteins whose expression change in prostate cancer provides novel mechanistic information related to the disease etiology. We hope that future studies will prove the value of this proteome dataset for development of novel therapies and biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)942-952
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2016


FundersFunder number
Terry Fox Research Institute New Frontiers ProgramTFF 116129
Familjen Erling-Perssons Stiftelse
Kræftens Bekæmpelse
Movember Foundation
Københavns Universitet
CancerfondenCAN 2013/845, CAN 2013/1324
Novo Nordisk FondenNNF14CC0001


    • Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded
    • Proneuropeptide-Y
    • Prostate cancer
    • Quantitative proteomics
    • Watchful waiting


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