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Purpose:

The majority of prostate cancers show some degree of neuroendocrine differentiation. It was previously demonstrated that chromogranin A, a constituent of large dense core vesicles of neuroendocrine cells, is frequently elevated in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. We evaluate the expression of secretoneurin, which is generated by proteolytic processing of secretogranin II (chromogranin C), in patients with prostate disease.

Materials and Methods:

Secretoneurin was measured in sera of 16 healthy men whose blood was drawn for prostate cancer screening (controls), and in 9 patients with prostatitis, 19 with benign prostate hyperplasia and 54 with prostate cancer detected by radioimmunoassay. Therapy resistant disease (clinical stage D3) was noted in 20 prostate cancer cases. Serum prostate specific antigen was measured in all patients and controls. In addition, chromogranin A, prostate acid phosphatase and interleukin-6 were determined in patients with D3 prostate cancer. Molecular properties of secretoneurin immunoreactivity were analyzed by gel filtration chromatography followed by radioimmunoassay.

Results:

Mean secretoneurin was 58.9 ± 8 fmol./ml. in patients with therapy resistant prostate cancer. Levels were significantly higher than those measured in sera from controls and patients with prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and pT2 or pT3 prostate cancer. There was a statistically significant correlation between secretoneurin and chromogranin A in patients with endocrine therapy failure (r = 0.543, p <0.05). There was no correlation between serum secretoneurin and prostate specific antigen, prostate acid phosphatase or interleukin-6. Gel filtration chromatography analysis of sera of 3 patients with D3 prostate cancer revealed a peak of secretoneurin immunoreactivity where intact secretoneurin elutes, thus showing that the processed peptide is circulating in the blood.

Conclusions:

Secretoneurin is elevated in sera of patients with endocrine therapy refractory prostate cancer. Our results support the concept that neuroendocrine differentiation is associated with prostate cancer progression.

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From the Departments of Pharmacology, Urology, Internal Medicine, and Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

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