Association of plasma NRP2 and VEGF-C levels with prostate cancer disease severity

Sarah A. Mullen, Dipanwita Das, Negin Ziamiavaghi, Robin High, Kaustubh Datta, Benjamin A. Teply

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Neuropilin 2 (NRP2) expression in tissue is an independent prognostic factor for aggressive prostate cancer. Since the NRP2 pathway activation is thought to occur in part through secondary resistance, quantification of NRP2 in initial tissue biopsy specimens collected at diagnosis may have limited utility in identifying patients at highest risk for morbidity and mortality. Given that metastatic tissue is only occasionally obtained for analysis, there is a need for development of a plasma biomarker indicative of NRP2 pathway activation to potentially inform prostate cancer prognosis. Therefore, we investigated if plasma levels of NRP2 or vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C), a known soluble ligand of NRP2, are prognostic for prostate cancer. We hypothesized that plasma NRP2 and VEGF-C would be associated with more advanced disease or relapsed disease. Methods: NRP2 and VEGF-C levels were quantified by enzyme-linked immunoassay in plasma samples obtained from 145 prostate cancer patients in an opportunistic biobank. These patients were either (1) newly diagnosed (N = 28), (2) in remission (N = 56), or (3) relapsed disease (N = 61). Plasma samples from 15 adult males without known malignancy served as a comparator cohort. Statistical analysis was performed to investigate the association of plasma NRP2/VEGF-C with patient outcomes, adjusting for age, race, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), Gleason score, and tumor stage at diagnosis. Results: Neither NRP2 nor VEGF-C levels were significantly different in cancer patients compared to noncancer controls. We observed no clear association between plasma NRP2 and disease severity. Increased plasma VEGF-C was significantly associated with disease remission and correlated with Stage I/II and intermediate-risk Gleason score. Neither NRP2 nor VEGF-C correlated with PSA level. Conclusions: Although tissue NRP2 expression correlates with severe disease, this was not observed for plasma NRP2. Plasma NRP2 levels did not correlate with disease severity or relapse. VEGF-C was highest in patients in remission and with less severe disease. Future investigation is needed to identify noninvasive methods to assess tumor NRP2 status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2024


  • castration resistance
  • opportunistic biobank
  • plasma biomarker
  • prognostic biomarker
  • prostate-specific antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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