Send to

Choose Destination
J Urol. 1992 Mar;147(3 Pt 2):846-51; discussion 851-2.

Serum prostate specific antigen as pre-screening test for prostate cancer.

Author information

Hormone Clinic Research Unit, CHUL Research Center, Quebec, Canada.


Prostate cancer has become the most common cancer and the second cause of death due to cancer in men in North America. Since curative therapies are limited to early stages of the disease, the availability of an efficient, easy to perform, widely acceptable and cost-effective method of early detection of prostate cancer is particularly important. Thus, digital rectal examination, transrectal ultrasonography of the prostate as well as measurements of serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) were performed independently in a series of 1,002 men between 45 and 80 years old randomly selected from the electoral rolls of Quebec City and its vicinity as part of a screening program for prostate cancer. Using this population of randomly chosen men, various cutoff serum PSA values were selected in an attempt to find the optimal decision threshold that would indicate a much greater risk of having prostatic cancer. At a threshold value of 3.0 micrograms./l. the sensitivity and specificity of the test are 80.7 and 89.6%, respectively, while the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve reflecting the accuracy of the test is 87.8 +/- 3.3% (plus or minus standard deviation). Moreover, the negative predictive value was estimated at 98.6%, thus leaving only a 1.4% chance of missing cancer when the serum PSA value was 3.0 micrograms./l. or less. Most importantly, such a threshold level of serum PSA retains only 19% of the whole cohort as candidates for transrectal ultrasonography and expensive diagnostic procedures, thus leading to the finding of 1 prostate cancer of 4 such examinations. The present data indicate that simple measurement of serum PSA can be used efficiently as a pre-screening test for prostate cancer in the general population to identify, at a low cost, the subpopulation of men at a much greater risk of having prostate cancer, and who should then be submitted to the more elaborate and expensive diagnostic procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center