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Endocr Relat Cancer. 2005 Mar;12(1):109-17.

Independent prognostic role of circulating chromogranin A in prostate cancer patients with hormone-refractory disease.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Universit√† di Torino, Italy.


The presence of neuroendocrine (NE) differentiation in the context of predominantly exocrine prostate cancer may play a key role in androgen-independent tumor growth. The prognostic significance of plasma chromogranin A (CgA) was assessed in a series of consecutive prostate cancer patients with hormone-refractory disease. One hundred and eight patients with newly diagnosed hormone-refractory prostate cancer entered the study. Plasma CgA levels and other biochemical parameters, such as serum prostate specific antigen, serum alkaline phosphatase, serum lactate dehydrogenase, serum albumin and hemoglobin concentration, were measured at baseline (i.e. when hormone refractoriness occurred) and their prognostic role was evaluated together with patient performance status, Gleason score (at diagnosis of prostate cancer) and the presence of visceral metastases. Furthermore, plasma CgA was prospectively evaluated in 50 patients undergoing chemotherapy. At baseline, 45 patients (43.3%) showed elevated CgA values. Plasma CgA negatively correlated with survival, either in univariate analysis (P=0.008) or in multivariate analysis, after adjusting for previously mentioned prognostic parameters (P<0.05). In the patient subset undergoing chemotherapy, median CgA (range) values were 13.3 (3.0-141.0) U/l at baseline, 19.1 (3.0-486.0) U/l after 3 months, 20.8 (3.0-702.0) U/l after 6 months and 39.4 (3.0-414.0) U/l after 9 months (P<0.01). The corresponding supranormal rates were 17/50 (34%), 23/50 (46%), 26/50 (52%) and 34/50 (68%) respectively (P<0.005). Elevated plasma CgA levels are frequently observed in prostate cancer patients with hormone-refractory disease and correlate with poor prognosis. NE differentiation in hormone-refractory patients is a time-dependent phenomenon and is not influenced by conventional antineoplastic treatments.

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