Detection and clearance of prostate cells subsequent to ultrasound-guided needle biopsy as determined by multiplex nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay

Urology. 1998 Aug;52(2):261-6; discussion 266-7. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(98)00148-4.


Objectives: To determine if circulating prostate cells are detectable subsequent to transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided biopsy, and if so, whether cells remain in circulation for up to 4 weeks.

Methods: Blood samples were drawn from 90 patients with elevated serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and/or abnormal digital rectal examination. Two samples were drawn from all patients immediately prior to TRUS and 30 minutes postbiopsy. Blood samples were also obtained 1 week postbiopsy from 83 patients, and 1 month postbiopsy from 61 patients. Multiplex nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay (RT-PCR) for PSA and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSM) was performed on total ribonucleic acid (RNA) from each sample. Results were reported as positive if at least one of the targets was detected.

Results: Of 45 patients with biopsy-proven adenocarcinoma, 22 were RT-PCR positive prebiopsy and all remained positive 30 minutes postbiopsy. Of 23 patients with adenocarcinoma who were RT-PCR negative prebiopsy, 5 (22%) converted to positive 30 minutes postbiopsy (P < 0.001). Four of these 5 patients returned to negative after 1 week or 1 month. Of 45 patients without cancer at biopsy, 32 were RT-PCR negative prebiopsy and 6 (19%) converted to positive 30 minutes postbiopsy (P < 0.001). Although four of six available samples were still positive at 1 week, all four samples available 1 month postbiopsy were negative.

Conclusions: Detection of circulating prostate cells subsequent to biopsy occurred in 11 of 55 (20%) previously RT-PCR negative patients, a proportion twice that reported in the literature. We attribute this higher proportion to the simultaneous detection of PSA and PSM mRNA in our multiplex assay. Conversion rates were similar in patients regardless of biopsy result. Testing of serial postbiopsy blood demonstrates clearing of these cells by 4 weeks in most patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Needle* / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction* / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography