Objectives: To determine the effect of ejaculation on the serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentration in men at risk for developing prostate cancer.
Methods: A prospective, community-based study was conducted in which 64 men, aged 49 to 79 years, underwent a serum PSA determination immediately before ejaculation (baseline) and at 1 hour, 6 hours, and 24 hours following ejaculation. The serum PSA also was measured 48 hours and 1 week after ejaculation if the concentration had not returned to the baseline value by the previous time interval. All subjects abstained from ejaculation for a minimum of 7 days prior to the study and until the PSA concentration returned to the baseline level. Absolute and relative change in serum PSA concentration, as well as the time to return to baseline PSA concentration following ejaculation, were assessed.
Results: The serum PSA concentration increased following ejaculation in 87% of the subjects. The mean baseline PSA was 1.8 ng/mL (median, 0.7 ng/mL). The mean absolute PSA change +/- standard deviation 1 hour, 6 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours after ejaculation was 0.8 +/- 1.32 ng/mL, 0.3 +/- 0.66 ng/mL, 0.2 +/- 0.33 ng/mL, and 0.4 +/- 0.40 ng/mL, respectively. The mean relative PSA change +/- standard error 1 hour, 6 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours after ejaculation was 41 +/- 4%, 9 +/- 1.5%, 8 +/- 1.3%, and 10 +/- 2.3%, respectively. The absolute and relative changes in PSA concentration noted 1 hour, 6 hours, and 24 hours after ejaculation were statistically significant (P = 0.0001). A strong correlation was observed between absolute change in PSA and baseline serum PSA, at each time interval (1 hour: r = 0.68, 6 hours: r = 0.77, 24 hours: r = 0.70; P < 0.0001) after ejaculation. Similarly, a significant correlation was noted between absolute change in PSA and patient age at each time interval (1 hour: r = 0.37, 6 hours: r = 0.38; P = 0.002, 24 hours: r = 0.55; P < 0.0001). Ninety-two percent of subjects returned to baseline by 24 hours (95% confidence interval (Cl) = 83% to 97%), whereas 97% of subjects returned to baseline by 48 hours (95% Cl = 89% to 99%).
Conclusions: Ejaculation causes a significant increase in the serum PSA concentration in men between 49 and 79 years of age that may persist for up to 48 hours. This change appears to correlate with age and baseline PSA. It is recommended that men abstain from ejaculation for 48 hours prior to having a serum PSA determination.