Filipino scientists found new proteins biomarkers to detect prostate cancer

prostate cancer

A group of Filipino researchers discovered five distinct proteins in human urine that can be used to diagnose prostate cancer in men.

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system that secretes white, milky fluid that constitutes 50–75% of men’s semen. Affecting 19 out of every 100,000 Filipinos, it is the second most common type cancer for men in the Philippines.

Currently, testing for prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is considered to be the standard for prostate cancer screening. However, the researchers argued that PSA is not ideal for prostate cancer screening since increased in blood PSA is also seen in other conditions affecting the prostate, such as with prostitis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostate hyperplasia (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate).

The group of researchers identified two sets of proteins that may be used for prostate cancer screening. The first set was of three proteins from patients with prostate cancer (namely; transthyretin, hemoglobin subunit alpha, and hemoglobin subunit beta). The second set was of two proteins from a healthy 19-year old man (which are uromodulin and mannan binding lectin serine protease 2).

Researchers discussed that the two proteins found from the healthy, 19-year old man are very promising because they can be used to distinguish patients with prostate cancer from those with benign prostate hyperplasia. Combining these proteins with the set of proteins found exclusively in patients with prostate cancer, researchers believe that a more accurate prostate cancer screening can be developed in the future.

The study is a collaboration between Filipino scientists from the United Laboratories Inc. (UNILAB), the University of Santo Tomas (UST), the University of the Philippines Manila – Philippine General Hospital (UPM-PGH), and University of California – Berkeley (UC-Berkley).


Autus-Geniston, LV, Garcia, CP, Ramos, JDA, Tuazon, AO, Estanislao, VC. Biomarker detection in urinary proteome of prostate cancer by nanoflow LC-MS/MS. Acta Medica Philippina. 47(2):  13-20.

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