Key challenges of biopsy-based determination of prostate cancer aggressiveness include tumour heterogeneity, biopsy-sampling error, and variations in biopsy interpretation. The resulting uncertainty in risk assessment leads to significant overtreatment, with associated costs and morbidity. We developed a performance-based strategy to identify protein biomarkers predictive of prostate cancer aggressiveness and lethality regardless of biopsy-sampling variation. Prostatectomy samples from a large patient cohort with long follow-up were blindly assessed by expert pathologists who identified the tissue regions with the highest and lowest Gleason grade from each patient. To simulate biopsy-sampling error, a core from a high- and a low-Gleason area from each patient sample was used to generate a 'high' and a 'low' tumour microarray, respectively. Using a quantitative proteomics approach, we identified from 160 candidates 12 biomarkers that predicted prostate cancer aggressiveness (surgical Gleason and TNM stage) and lethal outcome robustly in both high- and low-Gleason areas. Conversely, a previously reported lethal outcome-predictive marker signature for prostatectomy tissue was unable to perform under circumstances of maximal sampling error. Our results have important implications for cancer biomarker discovery in general and development of a sampling error-resistant clinical biopsy test for prediction of prostate cancer aggressiveness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research