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Urinary Metabolite Levels Higher in Prostate Cancer

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Friday, February 13, 2009

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of an amino acid derivative are higher in the urine of men with more advanced prostate cancer, which could be used as a non-invasive screening test, according to a study in the Feb. 12 issue of Nature.

Arun Sreekumar, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues profiled more than 1,126 metabolites across 262 clinical samples (benign and cancerous prostate tissue, plasma, urine) using a combination of high-throughput liquid-and-gas-chromatography-based mass spectrometry.

The researchers found that levels of sarcosine, a derivative of the amino acid glycine, were elevated in the urine with increasing prostate cancer progression (79 percent of metastatic cancers, 42 percent of early stage cancers, none of the benign samples) as well as in invasive prostate cancer cells compared with benign prostate cells. Adding sarcosine to benign prostate cancer cells or removing the enzyme that breaks down sarcosine induced an invasive phenotype. Although sarcosine had modest predictive value for prostate cancer, the authors note that it may identify patients with modestly increased prostate-specific antigen levels likely to have a positive prostate biopsy.

"Here, by profiling the metabolomic alterations of prostate cancer progression, we reveal sarcosine as a potentially important metabolic intermediary of cancer cell invasion and aggressivity," Sreekumar and colleagues conclude.

Several authors have ties to Metabolon Inc., which has licensed all pending patents for this technology from the University of Michigan.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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