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Human kallikrein-related peptidase-2 (hK2) and prostate cancer

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Human kallikrein-related peptidase-2 (hK2)

  • is abundantly expressed in malignant prostatic tissue, and its gene, KLK2, is regulated by the androgen receptor (AR)
  • both PSA and hK2 are serine proteases, encoded by the human kallikrein genes KLK3 and KLK2 located on chromosome 19, respectively, and are well characterized as AR-regulated genes
  • PSA and hK2 antigens are abundantly expressed in malignant prostate tissue throughout all clinical stages (1)
  • the four-kallikrein (4K) panel which consists of blood measures of total, free, and intact PSA and human kallikrein-related peptidase 2 (hK2), has been demonstrated to improve detection of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) compared to PSA among men with moderately elevated PSA levels (2)
    • has shown superior discriminative ability of the 4K panel over PSA for overall and aggressive PCa across multiethnic populations
  • has been shown to reduce the number of men referred to biopsy, while retaining sensitivity for high-grade cancer (3)


  1. Timmermand, O.V., Ulmert, D., Evans-Axelsson, S. et al. Preclinical imaging of kallikrein-related peptidase 2 (hK2) in prostate cancer with a 111In-radiolabelled monoclonal antibody, 11B6. EJNMMI Res4, 51 (2014).
  2. Darst BF, Chou A, Wan P, Pooler L, Sheng X, Vertosick EA, Conti DV, Wilkens LR, Le Marchand L, Vickers AJ, Lilja HG, Haiman CA. The Four-Kallikrein Panel Is Effective in Identifying Aggressive Prostate Cancer in a Multiethnic Population. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Jul;29(7):1381-1388.
  3. Auvinen A, Tammela TLJ, Mirtti T, et al. Prostate Cancer Screening With PSA, Kallikrein Panel, and MRI: The ProScreen Randomized Trial. JAMA. Published online April 06, 2024. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.3841

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