Protein marker related to severe form of BPH

February 15, 2007

Higher levels of a protein made by a gene known as JM-27 have been found in men whose BPH is more severe and more likely to lead to bladder-related complications if left untreated, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. The team, lead by Robert Getzenberg, PhD, also developed a blood test that detects the JM-27 protein in men with severe symptoms.

Higher levels of a protein made by a gene known as JM-27 have been found in men whose BPH is more severe and more likely to lead to bladder-related complications if left untreated, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. The team, lead by Robert Getzenberg, PhD, also developed a blood test that detects the JM-27 protein in men with severe symptoms.

"Our experiments show that the expression of this marker is related to the presence of the severe form of BPH and not to the size of the prostate or to the presence or risk of prostate cancer," Dr. Getzenberg said. "What we’re looking at is two diseases: BPH that produces more mild symptoms and is less likely to lead to bladder and other urinary tract damage, and BPH that is highly symptomatic with increased potential to do damage to the bladder."

Dr. Getzenberg and his colleagues tested blood samples taken from 85 men. Twenty-nine had either no detectable BPH symptoms or mild ones, 39 experienced more marked symptoms of the disease, and 17 had confirmed prostate cancer (J Urol 2007; 177:610-4). Researchers found a statistically significant difference in the levels of JM-27 in the men who were either completely asymptomatic or had mild symptoms of BPH. Men with higher levels of JM-27 had the less severe form of BPH, whereas men with low levels of JM-27 had the worse form of the disease based on their symptoms.

Dr. Getzenberg said the new biomarker test detects approximately 90% of the men with the severe form of BPH and only incorrectly classifies men as having this form of the disease in 23% of the cases. The next step is to figure out which drugs work best on which form of the disease as differentiated by JM-27, he said.