Urinary polyamines: A pilot study on their roles as prostate cancer detection biomarkers

Tik Hung Tsoi, Chi Fai Chan, Wai Lun Chan, Ka Fung Chiu, Wing Tak Wong*, Chi Fai Ng*, Ka-Leung Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Current screening methods towards prostate cancer (PCa) are not without limitations. Research work has been on-going to assess if there are other better tests suitable for primary or secondary screening of PCa to supplement the serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which fails to work accurately in a grey zone of 4-10ng/ml. In this pilot study, the potential roles of urinary polyamines as prostate cancer biomarkers were evaluated. PCa, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients and healthy controls (HC) showing PSA>4.0ng/ml were enrolled in the study. Their urine samples were obtained, and the urinary levels of putrescine (Put), spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm) were determined by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (UPLC-MS/MS). Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve and Student's t-test were used to evaluate their diagnostic accuracies. Among the three biogenic polyamines, Spm had demonstrated a good diagnostic performance when comparing their levels in PCa patients with BPH patients (1.47 in PCa vs 5.87 in BPH; p<0.0001). Results are in accordance with transrectal ultrasound prostatic biopsy (TRUSPB) results, with an area under curve (AUC) value of 0.83±0.03. Therefore urinary Spm shows potential to serve as a novel PCa diagnostic biomarker, which in turn can help to address the limited sensitivity and specificity problem of serum PSA test.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162217
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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