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Cancer Biol Ther. 2005 Apr;4(4):371-5. Epub 2005 Apr 28.

Prostate specific antigen as a clinical biomarker for prostate cancer: what's the take home message?

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  • 1Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Prostate specific antigen (PSA) continues to be challenged as a legitimate clinical biomarker in early detection of prostate cancer due to lack of specificity for malignant transformation. Skepticism surrounding the utility of serum PSA as a clinical marker is not new and many questioned its initial use in widespread prostate cancer screening due to non-specific expression and low predictive value for cancer detection. Despite these initial concerns, serum PSA measurement along with digital rectal examination (DRE) is currently the accepted practice for prostate cancer screening in the United States with hundreds of thousands of men undergoing serum PSA measurement annually. In contrast to its role for early detection, serum PSA measurement as a surrogate for prostate cancer recurrence (biochemical failure) following curative intent therapy has consummate clinical utility in post-treatment surveillance. As thousands of men each year are aggressively treated for potentially curable prostate cancer, development of simple and effective diagnostic tools for detecting treatment failures should be an important area of biomedical and clinical investigation. We have constructed and tested a home-based prostate cancer surveillance device for use by patients to detect PSA from blood obtained by finger stick. Our initial results suggest that home based PSA testing is feasible and may have clinical utility in management of men treated for prostate cancer.

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