Screening, identification of prostate cancer urinary biomarkers and verification of important spots


Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has been widely used as the unique serum biomarker for the diagnosis of prostate cancer (PCa). When PSA is moderately increased (e.g., 4–10 ng/ml), it is difficult to differentiate benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) from cancer. The diagnostic test (i.e., prostate biopsy) is invasive, adding pain and economic burden to the patient. Urine samples are more convenient, non-invasive and readily available than blood. We sought to determine whether ferritin might be the potential urinary biomarker in prostate cancer diagnosis. Using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) followed by mass spectrometry (MS), differentially expressed urinary proteins among patients with PCa, BPH and normal controls were obtained. The ferritin heavy chain (FTH) gene, ferritin light chain (FTL) gene and protein expression of BPH-1 cells and PC-3 cells were analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Stable FTH or FTL silenced cell lines were generated by small hairpin(sh) RNA lentiviral transfection. The function of the cell lines was evaluated by the colony formation assay, transwell assay, and flow cytometry. Compared with BPH and normal controls, 15 overexpressed proteins, including FTH and FTL, were identified in the urine of the PCa group. FTH and FTL were also highly expressed in PC-3 cell lines compared with BPH-1 cells. FTH-silenced cells showed reduced cell proliferation, migration and increased cell apoptosis. FTL-silenced cells showed increased proliferation and migration abilities. There are differences in urinary proteins among patients with PCa, BPH and normal controls. FTH and FTL play different roles in PCa cells and are potential biomarkers for PCa.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Man Zhang.

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Conflicts of interest

Huijun Zhao, Xuhong Zhao, Ting Lei, Man Zhang declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


This work was supported by the Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals’ Ascent Plan (DFL20150701) and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7172106).

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Zhao, H., Zhao, X., Lei, T. et al. Screening, identification of prostate cancer urinary biomarkers and verification of important spots. Invest New Drugs 37, 935–947 (2019).

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  • Urinary proteomics
  • Prostate cancer (PCa)
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Ferritin
  • RNA interference