Ghrelin O-acyltransferase: a new biomarker for prostate cancer screening

Raúl M. Luque


    Raúl M. Luque


    IMIBIC, Instituto Maimónides de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba, Spain


    Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer type worldwide and one of the leading causes of cancer death among men. The current biomarker used for PCa diagnosis is prostate-specific antigen (PSA); however, PSA exhibit reduced specificity/sensitivity, which leads a high number of false positives and the associated unneeded procedures and treatments. Previous data from our group indicate that the enzyme Ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) is overexpressed in samples from PCa-patients (tissues/plasma/urine) and could have a high potential as non-invasive diagnostic tool.

    To explore the utility of the GOAT enzyme as diagnostic and/or prognostic tool in PCa.

    Problem to Solve
    Prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis is mainly based on PSA levels in blood. However, PSA has many limitations as a biomarker, as its levels can also be raised by non-cancerous conditions (i.e. infections, trauma or benign prostatic hyperplasia). Therefore, use of PSA test can then lead to both false positives and false negatives and consequently, many unnecessary biopsies are performed to correctly diagnose PCa, which implies high risks for the patients, reduction in their quality of life, and also, elevated costs for the health systems. Hence, identification of novel, more specific and sensitive diagnostic/prognostic PCa biomarkers are necessary.

    The GOAT enzyme is known to be present and play relevant roles in several cells and organs. However, we have recently demonstrated that GOAT is overexpressed in prostate cancer (PCa) tissues in comparison with controls, and therefore, it could represent a novel non-invasive biomarker in PCa as its levels are also elevated in plasma and urine samples from PCa patients.

    Level of Innovation
    Preliminary data revealed that GOAT achieved high specificity and sensitivity rates when screened in plasma/urine samples of patients with PCa. Therefore, GOAT enzyme could represent a solid biomarker for PCa screening.