BACKGROUND: Kallikrein-related peptidase 2 (KLK2)-like KLK3 (prostate-specific antigen [PSA])-belongs to the highly conserved serine proteases of the glandular kallikrein protein family (KLK family). Studies suggested that measurement of KLK2 serum levels advanced the predictive accuracy of PSA testing in prostate cancer.
METHODS: To clarify the potential utility of KLK2 as a prognostic tissue biomarker, KLK2 expression was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in more than 12 000 prostate cancers.
RESULTS: Normal epithelium cells usually showed weak to moderate KLK2 immunostaining, whereas KLK2 was negative in 23%, weak in 38%, moderate in 35%, and strong in 4% of 9576 analyzable cancers. Lost or reduced KLK2 immunostaining was associated with advanced tumor stage, high Gleason score, lymph node metastasis, increased cell proliferation, positive resection margin, and early PSA recurrence (P < .0001). Comparison with previously analyzed molecular alterations revealed a strong association of KLK2 loss and presence of TMPRSS2:ERG fusion (P < .0001), most of all analyzed common deletions (9 of 11; P ≤ .03), and decreased PSA immunostaining (P < .0001 each). Cancers with combined negative or weak immunostaining of KLK2 and PSA showed worse prognosis than cancers with at least moderate staining of one or both proteins (P < .0001). Multivariate analyses including established preoperative and postoperative prognostic parameters showed a strong independent prognostic impact of KLK2 loss alone or in combination of PSA, especially in erythroblast transformation-specific-negative cancers (P ≤ .006).
CONCLUSIONS: Loss of KLK2 expression is a potentially useful prognostic marker in prostate cancer. Analysis of KLK2 alone or in combination with PSA may be useful for estimating cancer aggressiveness at the time of biopsy.