Proenzyme psa for the early detection of prostate cancer in the 2.5-4.0 ng/ml total psa range: preliminary analysis.

To determine the clinical utility of using proenzyme prostate-specific antigen (pPSA) for early detection of prostate cancer in the 2.5 to 4.0 ng/mL total PSA range. pPSA, the precursor form of PSA that contains a 7 amino acid leader peptide, and truncated forms such as [-2]pPSA and [-4]pPSA can be measured in serum by research immunoassay.

Archival serum from 119 men (noncancer, 88; cancer, 31), obtained before biopsy and in the total PSA range of 2.5 to 4.0 ng/mL, were assayed for total PSA, free PSA (fPSA), and pPSA. pPSA was defined as the sum of the [-2], [-4], and [-7] forms, and the percent pPSA (%pPSA) was defined as pPSA/fPSA.

pPSA averaged 4.6% +/- 0.4% (SEM) of total PSA and 39.3% +/- 3.5% of fPSA. PSA and %fPSA values were similar between the noncancer and cancer groups, and %pPSA tended to be higher in the cancer group (50.1% +/- 4.4%) compared with the noncancer group (35.5% +/- 6.7%; P = 0.07). Using receiver operating characteristic analysis to assess clinical utility, the area under the curve for %pPSA was 0.688 compared with 0.567 for %fPSA. At a fixed sensitivity of 75%, the specificity was significantly greater for %pPSA at 59% compared with %fPSA at 33% (P <0.0001).

In the 2.5 to 4.0 ng/mL total PSA range, 75% of cancers can potentially be detected with 59% of unnecessary biopsies being spared using %pPSA; use of %fPSA would result in sparing only 33% of unnecessary biopsies. A large prospective clinical trial is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Bartsch G, Chan DW, Evans CL, Horninger W, Klocker H, Linton HJ, Mangold LA, Mikolajczyk SD, Mohr P, Partin AW, Rittenhouse HG, Sokoll LJ


Urology, 2003, 61 (2)

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