Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Molecular Markers of Prostate Cancer Progression

Technology #3552

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Researchers
Arul Chinnaiyan
Managed By
Ed Pagani
Assistant Director, Health Technologies 734-763-3558

UM File # 3552

Background
Afflicting one out of nine men over age 65, prostate cancer is a leading cause of male cancer-related death. Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed with a digital rectal exam and/or prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening. PSA is used as a marker for prostate cancer because only prostate cells secrete it. However, a major limitation of the serum PSA test is a lack of prostate cancer sensitivity and specificity especially in the intermediate range of PSA detection. Elevated serum PSA levels are often detected in patients with non-malignant conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis, and provide little information about the aggressiveness of the cancer detected. Thus, development of additional serum and tissue biomarkers to supplement PSA screening is needed.
Technology Description
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed several novel prostate cancer markers, including but not limited to SPINK1, SLC22A3 and a portion of chromosome 6q21. SPINK1 showed marked overexpression in ~15% of prostate cancers compared to benign prostate tissue. The researchers also found that genes such as SLC22A3 are under-expressed in the cancerous epithelium during progression, which may represent potential tumor suppressors. In addition, a putative deletion at chromosome 6p21 was identified in the prostate cancer samples, which maybe used as a new marker to identify prostate cancer.
Applications • Prostate cancer diagnostic kit • Cancer research • Prostate cancer therapeutic targets
Advantages • This invention provides novel prostate cancer markers to supplement the traditional PSA screening for accurate and specific prostate cancer diagnosis. • These prostate cancer markers can be potentially used for new targets of cancer treatments.