Epidermal growth factor-related peptides in human prostatic fluid: Sources of variability in assay results

Peter H. Gann*, Robert Chatterton, Kirsten Vogelsong, John T. Grayhack, Chung Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Prostatic fluid (PF) provides a unique medium for noninvasive evaluation of critical growth and differentiation signals in the prostatic microenvironment. The purpose of this study was to establish the feasibility of measuring two prostatic mitogens, epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α) in PF, and specifically to quantify extraneous variability attributable to the assay itself, sample handling, or biological variation within an individual over time. METHODS. PF was collected by transrectal massage from consecutive patients attending a urology clinic. Pooled PF and individual samples from 25 men with stable benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) were analyzed for EGF and TGF-α by radioimmunoassay and for total protein. RESULTS. Reproducibility was adequate at dilutions as low as 1:50 (2-μ1 pooled sample) and 1:5 (20 μ1) for EGF and TGF-α, respectively. Results were not affected by freeze-thaw cycles, time in storage, or protease inhibition in fresh PF. EGF and TGF-α were detectable in 100% and 92% of individual men, with respective means of 152 and 0.2 ng/ml. Correlations between two samples obtained from the same man within 12 months were highly significant (EGF r = 0.89, TGF-α r = 0.71). Protein concentrations were consistent over time; expression of either peptide per weight of protein rather than per volume did not improve within- man correlation. Between-man variability far exceeded within-man variability for both peptides, and was estimated to account for 84% and 61% of the total variability in EGF and TGF-α, respectively. There was no correlation between EGF and TGF-α in the same samples. CONCLUSIONS. We conclude that men with BPH secrete consistent and distinct levels of EGF-related peptides in PF, and that these levels can be detected with acceptable sensitivity and precision by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Measurement of TGP-α, which has not been reported previously, requires a relatively larger sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 1997


  • Epidermal growth factor-urogastrone
  • Prostate
  • Transforming growth factor- alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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