We investigated the prostate cancer detection rates upon transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsy in relation to digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and risk factors of prostate cancer detection in the Chinese population. Data from all consecutive Chinese men who underwent first TRUS-guided prostate biopsy from year 2000 to 2013 was retrieved from our database. The prostate cancer detection rates with reference to DRE finding and PSA level of < 4, 4-10, 10.1-20, 20.1-50 and > 50 ng ml-1 were investigated. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate for potential risk factors of prostate cancer detection. A total of 2606 Chinese men were included. In patients with normal DRE, the cancer detection rates were 8.6%, 13.4%, 21.8%, 41.7% and 85.2% in patients with PSA < 4, 4-10, 10.1-20, 20.1-50 and > 50 ng ml-1 respectively. In patients with abnormal DRE, the cancer detection rates were 12.4%, 30.2%, 52.7%, 80.6% and 96.4% in patients with PSA < 4, 4-10, 10.1-20, 20.1-50 and > 50 ng ml-1 respectively. Older age, smaller prostate volume, larger number of biopsy cores, presence of abnormal DRE finding and higher PSA level were associated with increased risk of prostate cancer detection upon multivariate logistic regression analyses (P < 0.001). Chinese men appeared to have lower prostate cancer detection rates when compared to the Western population. Taking the different risk factors into account, an individualized approach to the decision of TRUS-guided biopsy can be adopted.