PSA levels and the probability of prostate cancer on biopsy

Matthew B. Gretzer, Alan W. Partin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objectives: Approaches to screening for prostate cancer have continued to be refined since the introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Since the introduction of PSA, increasing numbers of patients are presenting solely with an elevated PSA, and palpably normal prostate gland. As newer understanding emerges regarding the meaning of an isolated PSA elevation, urologists are becoming more enabled to counsel their patients and project a more accurate prediction of the likelihood of cancer on biopsy. The following will be a review of PSA in determining the presence of cancer on biopsy. Methods: PubMed and Medline literature searches as well as bibliographic reviews of published peer reviewed journals were performed to select articles regarding PSA and screening for prostate cancer. Relevant articles were reviewed and the data summarized as they pertain to interpreting PSA levels and predicting the presence of prostate cancer. Results: Widespread use of PSA for early detection has resulted in clinical stage Tlc becoming the most prevalent presenting stage. For values of PSA between 4.0 and 10.0 ng/ml, there exist a 22-27% likelihood of cancer, while those above 10 ng/ml yield up to a 67% chance of cancer. It must be stressed that DRE must be combined with interpretation of PSA as up to 25% of men with prostate cancer have PSA levels within the normal range 0-4 ng/ml. Conclusions: Evaluation of PSA in the context of prostate volume (PSAD), velocity (PSAV), and age-specific reference ranges, percent-free PSA, and predictive nomograms combining values have allowed for more accurate prediction of the likelihood of prostate cancer prior to biopsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Urology, Supplement
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Age-specific PSA
  • BPH
  • DRE
  • PSA
  • PSAD
  • PSAV
  • Percent-free PSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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