Prostatic zinc and prostate specific antigen: an experimental evaluation of their combined diagnostic value

J Urol. 2003 Dec;170(6 Pt 1):2258-62. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000095795.86327.b8.


Purpose: In cancer affected prostate cells lose the ability to concentrate zinc, resulting in a substantial decrease in Zn in the prostate. We investigated the possibility of using prostatic zinc combined with prostate specific antigen (PSA) as a novel tool for the reliable diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Materials and methods: Using the x-ray fluorescence method the Zn concentration was determined in vitro in prostate samples extracted by surgery from 28 patients. Clinical records included age, serum PSA, sextant prostate needle biopsy, previous medical therapy, surgical procedure and histological findings.

Results: A new relationship was found between Zn in prostate tissue and PSA in blood, which allows improved separation between prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia, and might have a significant impact on the reliable diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Conclusions: Zn concentration is not uniform even in the same anatomical region of the prostate, so that a number of measurements at various locations are required for a diagnostic procedure. The most interesting finding in this study is the relationship between Zn concentration and PSA. A combination of these parameters represents a significant improvement on the diagnostic value of each of them separately and provides a powerful tool for more accurate diagnosis. Although the method may be applied in vitro on biopsy samples, our study underlines the importance of developing a facility for in vivo Zn determination in the prostate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / chemistry*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Zinc / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Zinc