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Int J Cancer. 2001 Sep 1;93(5):759-65.

Molecular forms of prostate-specific antigen in serum with concentrations of total prostate-specific antigen <4 microg/L: are they useful tools for early detection and screening of prostate cancer?

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  • 1Department of Urology, University Hospital Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


Molecular forms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) improve the differentiation between benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa) in men with total PSA concentrations between 4 and 10 microg/l. To evaluate the diagnostic utility of free PSA (fPSA) and complexed PSA forms for identification of men with PCa in the low PSA range of <4 microg/l, total PSA (tPSA), alpha(1)-antichymotrypsin complexed PSA (PSA-ACT) and fPSA (Roche Elecsys [ES] system) as well as tPSA and complexed PSA (cPSA) (Bayer Immuno 1 system) were measured in archival serum samples from 31 untreated patients with PCa, 66 patients with BPH, and 90 men without prostatic disease. The median ratios of fPSA/tPSA, PSA-ACT/tPSA and cPSA/tPSA were significantly different between patients with BPH and PCa (27.2 vs. 19.4%, 64 vs. 88%, 77.2 vs. 88.2%, p < 0.05). No associations between PSA forms and tumor stage and grade were found. Analysis of the receiver operating characteristic curves showed that these ratios could discriminate better between BPH and PCa patients than determination of the analytes tPSA, fPSA, cPSA and PSA-ACT alone. The use of one of the ratios would have eliminated roughly half of the unnecessary biopsies in this study. The ratios should be considered as potential tools to increase the selectivity of PCa detection at low PSA concentration. The ratios fPSA/tPSA and cPSA/tPSA can be determined using commercially available assays so that one of these ratios could be preferred instead of PSA-ACT determination. The ratios could be useful in assessing the risk of PCa in the individual and therefore in deciding on prostate biopsy for final diagnosis.

Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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