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BJU Int. 2008 Mar;101(6):675-83. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

New blood-based biomarkers for the diagnosis, staging and prognosis of prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas 75390-9110, USA.


The introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has revolutionized the detection and management of patients with prostate cancer. Despite this there has always been a concern among clinicians about the usefulness of total PSA levels as a marker for prostate cancer. We discuss the use of calculated variables and molecular forms of PSA. The precursor forms of PSA have been associated with the presence and biological behaviour of prostate cancer. With recent advances in biotechnology, e.g. high-throughput molecular analyses, many potential blood biomarkers have been identified and are currently under investigation. Given the plethora of candidate biomarkers we discuss a selected group of novel blood-based biomarkers, e.g. human glandular kallikrein, early prostate cancer antigen, insulin-like growth factors, urokinase plasminogen activators, transforming growth factor-beta, interleukin-6, chromogranin A, and prostate secretory protein. While these and other markers have shown promise in early-phase studies, no single biomarker is likely to have the appropriate degree of certainty to dictate treatment decisions. Consequently, the future of cancer prognosis might rely on small panels of markers that can accurately predict cancer presence, stage and metastasis, and serve as prognosticators, targets, and/or surrogate endpoints of disease progression and response to therapy.

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