Detection of prostate-specific membrane antigen expressing cells in blood obtained from renal cancer patients: A potential biomarker of vascular invasion
Carcinoma, Renal Cell
Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
Originally, prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) was described in benign and malignant prostate cells. On the basis of recent reports that this antigen also is expressed in normal renal proximal tubular cells and in the neovascular endothelium associated with renal carcinoma, we used a nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay to evaluate whether PSMA-expressing cells might be present in specimens of peripheral blood obtained from renal cancer patients, benign renal tumor patients, and healthy volunteers. Our reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction PSMA assay had a sensitivity of detecting 1 lymph node prostate cancer (LNCaP) per 10(7) lymphocytes. None of the 20 non-renal cancer controls were positive for PSMA mRNA, whereas 11 of 50 patients (22%) with diagnosed renal cancer were positive. Despite a comparative increase of PSMA positivity with stage, no statistical correlation was found. However, 44% of PSMA-positive patients had tumor size greater than 12 cm, versus only 9% in patients negative for PSMA (P = .03), and 67% of positive PSMA patients were found to have vascular invasion versus only 16% of patients negative for PSMA (P = .006; odds ratio, 10.8). This preliminary study suggests the possibility that PSMA expression in peripheral blood might be a useful biomarker for detecting or monitoring the progression of renal cancer in patients.