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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Sep 1;16(17):4374-81. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-1328. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

The relationship between prostate-specific antigen and prostate cancer risk: the Prostate Biopsy Collaborative Group.

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  • 1Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Erratum in

  • Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Jun 1;17(11):3852.



The relationship between prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and prostate cancer risk remains subject to fundamental disagreements. We hypothesized that the risk of prostate cancer on biopsy for a given PSA level is affected by identifiable characteristics of the cohort under study.


We used data from five European and three U.S. cohorts of men undergoing biopsy for prostate cancer; six were population-based studies and two were clinical cohorts. The association between PSA and prostate cancer was calculated separately for each cohort using locally weighted scatterplot smoothing.


The final data set included 25,772 biopsies and 8,503 cancers. There were gross disparities between cohorts with respect to both the prostate cancer risk at a given PSA level and the shape of the risk curve. These disparities were associated with identifiable differences between cohorts: for a given PSA level, a greater number of biopsy cores increased the risk of cancer (odds ratio for >6- versus 6-core biopsy, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.54; P < 0.0005); recent screening led to a smaller increase in risk per unit change in PSA (P = 0.001 for interaction term) and U.S. cohorts had higher risk than the European cohorts (2.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.99-2.30; P < 0.0005).


Our results suggest that the relationship between PSA and risk of a positive prostate biopsy varies, both in terms of the probability of prostate cancer at a given PSA value and the shape of the risk curve. This poses challenges to the use of PSA-driven algorithms to determine whether biopsy is indicated.

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