Objectives: To investigate whether plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) or its integrity could differentiate prostate cancer from benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) in patients with serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ≥ 4 ng/ml.
Methods: Ninety-six patients with prostate cancer and 112 patients with BPH were enrolled. cfDNA levels in plasma before prostate biopsy were quantified by real-time PCR amplification of ALU gene (product size of 115 bp), and quantitative ratio of ALU (247 bp) to ALU (115 bp) reflected the integrity of cfDNA.
Results: In patients with serum PSA ≥ 4 ng/ml, there were significant differences in plasma cfDNA or its integrity between the patients with prostate cancer (19.74 ± 4.43, 0.34 ± 0.05) and patients with BPH (7.36 ± 1.58, 0.19 ± 0.03; P < 0.001, P < 0.001). Prostate cancer could be differentiated with a sensitivity of 73.2 % and a specificity of 72.7 % by cfDNA (AUC = 0.864). The integrity of cfDNA had a sensitivity of 81.7 % and a specificity of 78.8 % for the distinguishing prostate cancer from BPH (AUC = 0.910).
Conclusions: cfDNA and its integrity could be applied to differentiate prostate cancer from BPH in patients with serum PSA ≥ 4 ng/ml.