Objective: To investigate whether preoperative plasma levels of free DNA can discriminate between men with localized prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Patients and methods: In all, 161 referred patients suspicious for prostate cancer either by an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and/or abnormal digital rectal examination (DRE) were included in this prospective study. Peripheral plasma was taken before prostate biopsy and genomic DNA was extracted from the plasma using the a commercial kit and a vacuum chamber. After controlling for age, PSA level, the percentage free/total (f/t) PSA and prostate volume, the median prostate cancer plasma DNA concentration served as diagnostic threshold in uni- and multivariate logistic regression models. Multivariate models were subjected to 200 bootstraps for internal validation and to reduce over-fit bias.
Results: Subgroups consisted of 142 men with clinically localized prostate cancer and 19 with BPH. The median plasma concentration of cell-free DNA was 267 ng/mL in men with BPH vs 709 ng/mL in men with prostate cancer. In univariate analyses, plasma DNA concentration was a statistically significant and informative predictor (P = 0.032 and predictive accuracy 0.643). In multivariate analyses, it remained statistically significant after controlling for age, tPSA, f/tPSA and prostate volume, increasing the predictive accuracy by 5.6%.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that plasma DNA level is a highly accurate and informative predictor in uni- and multivariate models for the presence of prostate cancer on needle biopsy. The predictive accuracy was substantially increased by adding plasma DNA level. However, larger-scale studies are needed to further confirm its clinical impact on prostate cancer detection.