New circulating biomarkers for prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2008;11(2):112-20. doi: 10.1038/sj.pcan.4501026. Epub 2007 Nov 13.


The introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) revolutionized prostate cancer (PCa) screening and ushered the PSA era. However, its use as a screening tool remains controversial and changes in the epidemiology of PCa have strongly limited its prognostic role. Therefore, we need novel approaches to improve our ability to detect PCa and foretell the course of the disease. To improve the specificity of total PSA, several approaches based on PSA derivatives have been investigated such as age-specific values, PSA density (PSAD), PSAD of the transition zone, PSA velocity and assessment of various isoforms of PSA. With recent advances in biotechnology such as high-throughput molecular analyses, many potential blood biomarkers have been identified and are currently under investigation. Given the plethora of candidate PCa biomarkers, we have chosen to discuss a select group of candidate blood-based biomarkers including human glandular kallikrein, early prostate cancer antigens, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and its binding proteins (IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3), urokinase plasminogen activation system, transforming growth factor-beta1, interleukin-6, chromogranin A, prostate secretory protein, prostate-specific membrane antigen, PCa-specific autoantibodies and alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase. While these and other markers have shown promise in early phase studies, no single biomarker is likely to have the appropriate degree of certainty to dictate treatment decisions. Consequently, the future of cancer prognosis may rely on small panels of markers that can accurately predict PCa presence, stage, metastasis, and serve as prognosticators, targets and/or surrogate end points of disease progression and response to therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood*
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Reference Values
  • Risk


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen