Targeted Proteomics Furthers Goal of Liquid Biopsy To Predict Aggressiveness of Prostate Cancer Interview with:

Thomas Kislinger, PhD Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre University Health Network Associate Professor Department of Medical Biophysics University of Toronto

Dr. Thomas Kislinger

Thomas Kislinger, PhD
Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
University Health Network
Associate Professor
Department of Medical Biophysics
University of Toronto What is the background for this study?

Response: The goal of this study was to develop a non-invasive, prognostic biomarker that can address the worldwide clinical dilemma of over-treating low-risk prostate cancers. To accomplish this we developed highly accurate proteomics assays in urines collected after a digital rectal examination (termed post-DRE urines). What are the main findings?

Response: Current clinical protocols rely on needle biopsies to diagnose prostate cancer. The problem is that needle biopsies under-sample the prostate, potentially missing cancer foci or disease that has already grown beyond the prostate. In addition, a significant proportion of men that undergo biopsies develop negative side-effects (i.e. bleeding, infections, etc.). A fluid-based biomarker (i.e. a liquid biopsy) that can be quantified in a non-invasively collected biofluid would be ideal. Here, we built on our longstanding expertise with proteomic analyses of prostatic secretions to develop robust biomarker signatures that allow us to predict which patients have a slow-growing versus aggressive prostate cancer. This could eventually help us to personalize cancer treatment for these patients. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In the current work we have laid the foundation for a fluid-based biomarker that predicts what cancers have grown beyond the prostate prior to surgical intervention and with higher accuracy than conventional needle biopsies. Following additional validations, we believe that our liquid biomarker could eventually help clinicians to personalize treatment for men with prostate cancer by sparing slow- growing cancers any aggressive treatments, while intensifying treatment for more aggressive disease. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: While we are very excited about our results, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done prior to clinical implementation.

  • First, we need to further optimize our proteomics assays to enable more rapid biomarker quantification (i.e. analyze more samples in shorter times).
  • Second, our signatures need to be validated in additional, independent clinical cohorts. We are currently in the process of obtaining biobanked urine samples of 1,000 international patients to validate if the biomarkers identified have broader clinical utilities in prostate cancer.
  • We estimate that these next rounds of validation, that will require additional funding, would take around 5-years to complete. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This work was a study jointly coordinated by myself and Dr. O. John Semmes (Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, USA) and Dr. Paul Boutros (Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Canada). It is a great example of collaborative, translational research, combining the expertise of basic scientists, computational biologists and clinicians with access to richly annotated biospecimens. Most importantly, this work was only possible due to the dedicated work of several outstanding trainees, especially PhD student Yunee Kim and post-doctoral fellow Jouhyun Jeon. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Yunee Kim, Jouhyun Jeon, Salvador Mejia, Cindy Q Yao, Vladimir Ignatchenko, Julius O Nyalwidhe, Anthony O Gramolini, Raymond S Lance, Dean A Troyer, Richard R Drake, Paul C Boutros, O. John Semmes, Thomas Kislinger. Targeted proteomics identifies liquid-biopsy signatures for extracapsular prostate cancer. Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 11906 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11906

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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