Prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening is an established and useful tool for prostate cancer detection, however, it has no predictive prognostic value at diagnosis. For early diagnosed localized prostate cancer, the major clinical challenge is the treatment decision, in whether a patient should receive invasive intervention or be managed as ?watchful waiting? active surveillance. Consequently, patients with indolent prostate cancer can be unnecessarily over-treated; or conversely, patients with prostate cancer of an aggressive nature may miss out on needed treatment, which ultimately leads to mortality. Therefore, it is an urgent need to develop prognostic biomarkers for localized prostate cancer to guide clinical decision making that is most beneficial to each patient. The objective of this proposal is to address the imminent clinical need by developing and validating a panel of potential prostate cancer prognostic biomarkers. Based on the literature and our compelling preliminary findings, we hypothesize that serum levels of the soluble NKG2D ligand MIC (sMIC) in combination with tumor-associated glycan profiles can provide the predictive biomarker capacity for prostate cancer prognosis. We have assembled large cohorts of prostate cancer tissues and matching serum collected from men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer at the time of prostatectomy. These samples have annotated clinical information including follow up PSA biochemical recurrence (BCR) status. These samples will be used to develop a unique panel of prognostic biomarkers and validate their specificity and sensitivity. Findings will be further validated with independent cohorts of serum samples from clinically-defined prostate cancer patients. There are four Specific Aims: 1) Determine the sensitivity and specificity of tissue MIC and serum sMIC in predicting BCR; 2) Determine the sensitivity and specificity of tissue and serum multi- fucosylated glycan panels in predicting BCR; 3) Determine the prognostic capacity of serum and tissue biomarker panel 4) Validate prognostic capacity of the identified panel of serum biomarkers with independent cohorts of patient samples. The proposed study will be accomplished through a collaborative effort led by a team of well-established investigators.

Public Health Relevance

A biomarker discovery team with scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Northwestern University propose to evaluate and identify unique prostate cancer biomarkers associated with the most aggressive and worst prognosis prostate cancers. Experiments will be done in matching tissue and serum cohorts to facilitate the discovery of a new panel of immune and glycan biomarkers that could be insightful indicators for clinical decision making before therapy. This MUSC/Northwestern team of investigators provides a distinct cadre of expertise in the areas of prostate cancer immunology, therapeutics, glycomics and tissue biomarker discovery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cancer Biomarkers Study Section (CBSS)
Program Officer
Mckee, Tawnya C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northwestern University at Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Dhar, Payal; Wu, Jennifer D (2018) NKG2D and its ligands in cancer. Curr Opin Immunol 51:55-61