Many aspects of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment could be greatly advanced with new, effective biomarkers. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has multiple weaknesses as a biomarker, such as not distinguishing well between cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia or between indolent and aggressive cancers, thus leading to overtreatment, especially unnecessary biopsies. PSA also often fails to indicate accurately which patients are responding to a given treatment. Yet PSA is the only prostate cancer biomarker routinely used by urologists. Here, we provide updated information on the most relevant of the other biomarkers currently in use or in development for prostate cancer. Recent research shows improvement over using PSA alone by comparing total PSA (tPSA) or free PSA (fPSA) with new, related markers, such as prostate cancer antigen (PCA) 3, the individual molecular forms of PSA (proPSA, benign PSA, and intact PSA), and kallikreins other than PSA. Promising results have also been seen with the use of the fusion gene TMPRSS2:ERG and with various forms of the urokinase plasminogen activation receptor. Initially, there were high hopes for early PCA, but those data were not reproducible and thus research on early PCA has been abandoned. Much work remains to be done before any of these biomarkers are fully validated and accepted. Currently, the only markers discussed in this paper with Food and Drug Administration-approved tests are PCA 3 and an isoform of proPSA, [-2]proPSA. Assays are in development for most of the other biomarkers described in this paper. While the biomarker validation process can be long and filled with obstacles, the rewards will be great-in terms of both patient care and costs to the health care system.
R Otero, BG Gomez, FC Juanatey, KA Touijer.
Prostate Cancer Biomarkers: An Update.
Urol. Oncol 2014 Feb 01;[EPub Ahead of Print]