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Br J Cancer. 1995 Sep;72(3):728-31.

Prostate-specific antigen in serum of women with breast cancer.

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Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Turin, Italy.


Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was recently found in 30% of female breast tumours. In this study we have examined if PSA circulates in the blood of breast cancer patients and if serum PSA has any clinical application. We have compared serum PSA levels between women with and without breast cancer, between women with PSA-positive and PSA-negative breast cancer and between women with breast cancer before and after surgical removal of the tumour. We found that for women > or = 50 years, there is no difference in serum PSA between normal or breast cancer patients. We also could not find any difference in presurgical or post-surgical serum PSA between women who have PSA-positive or PSA-negative breast cancer. We found no correlation between PSA concentrations in matched presurgical and post-surgical sera, between presurgical sera and tumour cytosols and between post-surgical sera and tumour cytosols. High-performance liquid chromatography has shown that PSA in normal male serum consists mostly of PSA bound to alpha 1-antichymotrypsin (molecular weight approximately 100,000), and PSA in breast tumours and presurgical and post-surgical serum consists mostly of free PSA (molecular weight approximately 33,000). These data suggest that female serum PSA is not associated with tumour PSA levels. We speculate that most of the circulating PSA in women originates from the normal breast. It appears that serum PSA in women does not have potential for breast cancer diagnosis or monitoring, but our previous data are consistent with the view that tumour PSA concentration is a favourable prognostic indicator in women with breast cancer.

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