2014 Ride for Dad Grant: Progress Report

Currently, the most commonly used test for prostate cancer is the PSA, however, there is a lack of specificity with this test in that an elevated PSA does not necessarily mean that cancer is present, and often indicates a benign condition. Thus, the results of the PSA test are often misleading and can cause concern for a number of reasons.

The research we were able to conduct with the 2014 funds has enables us to identify over 3000 proteins within semen, some of which are known to regulate cancer cell behavior. The difference between the protein content in semen samples of men without prostate cancer versus that from men with prostate cancer is currently under analysis which will help us further narrow down which proteins may be of direct importance to prostate cancer. For utilization when these prostate-cancer specific proteins are identified we have developed a robust new method of determining how the proteins stimulate cancer cell growth, invasion and spread through the body. Having this information will help to establish the specific role of these proteins in prostate cancer cells and possibly point to new drugs for prostate cancer treatment. The application of this information of the various proteins contained within the semen, could also potentially lead to the derivation of a new test to use alongside the PSA test.

The use of semen samples complimentary to a blood sample may facilitate the separation between patients with an elevated PSA due to prostate cancer from patients with an elevation due to a benign condition. Thus, there is potential that our research could result in an increase in the specificity of the PSA test, and perhaps, limit the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies.