Testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has profoundly affected the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. PSA testing has enabled physicians to detect prostate tumours while they are still small, low-grade and localized. This very ability has, however, created controversy over whether we are now diagnosing and treating insignificant cancers. PSA testing has also transformed the monitoring of treatment response and detection of disease recurrence. Much current research is directed at establishing the most appropriate uses of PSA testing and at developing methods to improve on the conventional PSA test.