Gene-transcript expression in urine supernatant and urine cell-sediment are different but equally useful for detecting prostate cancer

Marcelino Yazbek Hanna, Mark Winterbone, Shea P. O'Connell, Mireia Olivan, Rachel Hurst, Rob Mills, Colin S. Cooper, Daniel S. Brewer, Jeremy Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


There is considerable interest in urine as a non-invasive liquid biopsy to detect prostate cancer (PCa). PCa-specific transcripts such as the TMPRSS2:ERG fusion gene can be found in both urine extracellular vesicles (EVs) and urine cell-sediment (Cell) but the relative usefulness of these and other genes in each fraction in PCa detection has not been fully elucidated. Urine samples from 76 men (PCa n = 40, non-cancer n = 36) were analysed by NanoString for 154 PCa-associated genes-probes, 11 tissue-specific, and six housekeeping. Comparison to qRT-PCR data for four genes (PCA3, OR51E2, FOLH1, and RPLP2) was strong (r = 0.51–0.95, Spearman p < 0.00001). Comparing EV to Cells, differential gene expression analysis found 57 gene-probes significantly more highly expressed in 100 ng of amplified cDNA products from the EV fraction, and 26 in Cells (p < 0.05; edgeR). Expression levels of prostate-specific genes (KLK2, KLK3) measured were ~20x higher in EVs, while PTPRC (white-blood Cells) was ~1000× higher in Cells. Boruta analysis identified 11 gene-probes as useful in detecting PCa: two were useful in both fractions (PCA3, HOXC6), five in EVs alone (GJB1, RPS10, TMPRSS2:ERG, ERG_Exons_4-5, HPN) and four from Cell (ERG_Exons_6-7, OR51E2, SPINK1, IMPDH2), suggesting that it is beneficial to fractionate whole urine prior to analysis. The five housekeeping genes were not significantly differentially expressed between PCa and non-cancer samples. Expression signatures from Cell, EV and combined data did not show evidence for one fraction providing superior information over the other.
Original languageEnglish
Article number789
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • biomarker
  • cancer
  • cell-sediment
  • extracellular vesicles
  • prostate
  • urine

Cite this