Objectives: To evaluate the possibility of using α-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR) variants to improve the specificity of prostate cancer (CaP) detection. AMACR has been used as a diagnostic biomarker for CaP and is now a standard biomarker for needle biopsy specimens with ambiguous lesions. Methods: We used in silico analysis and molecular cloning to discover new AMACR variants and quantitative reverse transcriptionpolymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to measure the transcript levels of AMACR and its variants in 4 prostate cell lines and in 23 pairs of CaP and adjacent normal tissue. Results: We found 4 novel variants, IAs, IBL, IBLd, and IBLi. Transcript levels of most AMACR variants were significantly upregulated in CaP compared with its adjacent normal counterparts. A variants, the functional variants based on bioinformatic analysis, showed levels of transcript expression in CaP in this order: IA≫IAd=IIA≫IIAs>IAs. In contrast, the expression of the B variants, which appear to be nonfunctional due to the absence of exon 3, was lower than that of the A variants. IB was the most abundant form of B variant; and expression of IIB was negligible. More important, the difference between levels of variant IA, IAd, IIA, IIAs, IB, and IBLi in CaP and normal tissue was significantly higher than the difference in levels of total AMACR. Conclusions: Our data suggest that AMACR variants have better power than total AMACR in discriminating between CaP and adjacent normal tissue. These findings may be useful for the development of future diagnostic assays.
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