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Significance of serum total prostate specific antigen and digital rectal examination in the diagnosis of prostate cancer

Authors:
  • Al-Neelain University, Sudan International University

Abstract

To assess the significance of serum total prostate specific antigen (tPSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE) in the diagnosis of prostate cancer (PC). One hundred and eighteen patients with serum tPSA ranging between 2.5 and 10 ng/ml with lower urinary tract symptoms presented at the Urology Clinic of Soba University Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan from August 2008 and January 2010 were included in the study. Serum tPSA was measured using enzyme immunoassay method, and accordingly, the patients were classified into 2 groups: patients that had tPSA between 2.5-4.0 ng/ml; and patients that had tPSA between 4.1-10 ng/ml. The DRE was performed on all patients by a qualified urologist, and were recorded as a group with suspicion of PC, and a group with no suspicion of PC. All patients underwent transrectal sextant prostate biopsy. The DRE alone showed 63.8% sensitivity and 68% specificity with 46.9% positive predictive value (PPV) for the diagnosis of PC. The tPSA test revealed 91.6% sensitivity and 24% specificity with PPV of 34%. However, when combining DRE and tPSA, the sensitivity reached 100% and the specificity increased to 92% with PPV of 49%. Combining DRE and tPSA test increases the sensitivity, specificity, and PPV of PC detection.
Significance of serum total prostate specific antigen and
digital rectal examination in the diagnosis of prostate
cancer
Abdelkarim A. Abdrabo, MSc, PhD, Adil I. Fadlalla, MCS, MD, Imad M. Fadl-Elmula, MD, PhD.
1133
ABSTRACT
       


118 

102.5

20102008
        



104.142.5









24%91.6%118
34%
68%63.8%

46.9%
92% 100% 
49%
         

       

Objectives: To assess the significance of serum total
prostate specific antigen (tPSA) and digital rectal
examination (DRE) in the diagnosis of prostate cancer
(PC).
Methods: One hundred and eighteen patients with
serum tPSA ranging between 2.5 and 10 ng/ml with
lower urinary tract symptoms presented at the Urology
Clinic of Soba University Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan
from August 2008 and January 2010 were included
in the study. Serum tPSA was measured using enzyme
immunoassay method, and accordingly, the patients were
classified into 2 groups: patients that had tPSA between
2.5-4.0 ng/ml; and patients that had tPSA between 4.1-
10 ng/ml. e DRE was performed on all patients by a
qualified urologist, and were recorded as a group with
suspicion of PC, and a group with no suspicion of PC.
All patients underwent transrectal sextant prostate biopsy.
Results: e DRE alone showed 63.8% sensitivity and
68% specificity with 46.9% positive predictive value
(PPV) for the diagnosis of PC. e tPSA test revealed
91.6% sensitivity and 24% specificity with PPV of
34%. However, when combining DRE and tPSA, the
sensitivity reached 100% and the specificity increased to
92% with PPV of 49%.
Conclusion: Combining DRE and tPSA test increases
the sensitivity, specificity, and PPV of PC detection.
Saudi Med J 2011; Vol. 32 (11): 1133-1136
From the Departments of Clinical Chemistry (Abdrabo), Pathology (Fadl-
Elmula), Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Al Neelain University,
and the Department of Urology (Fadlalla), Soba University Hospital,
Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan.
Received 1st May 2011. Accepted 26th September 2011.
Address correspondence and reprint request to: Dr. Abdelkarim A.
Abdrabo, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medical
Laboratory Sciences, Al Neelain University, PO Box 12702, Khartoum
11121, Sudan. Tel. +249 (91) 2905847. Fax. +249 (18) 3796532.
E-mail: Abdrabokarim@hotmail.com
Disclosure. e authors declare that they have no
conflicting interests, and have not been supported, or
funded by any drug company.
1134
Serum total PSA and DRE in the diagnosis of PC ... Abdrabo et al
Saudi Med J 2011; Vol. 32 (11) www.smj.org.sa
T
he prostate remains one of the leading sites of
internal malignancy, and the second most common
cause of cancer death in men. Prostate cancer (PC) is
the fourth most common male malignancy worldwide.
1
Studies have shown that early detection of PC reduces
mortality, and improves the prognosis and quality of
patient’s life.
2
e measurement of prostate specific
antigen (PSA) in serum and digital rectal examination
(DRE) are the most widely used and efficient methods
for the early detection of PC.
3
Prostate specific antigen
is now a well established tumor marker that aids in the
diagnosis, staging, and follow up of PC, and it was
recommended to be superior to the previously used
marker, the prostatic acid phosphatase.
4,5
e PSA
function is not yet understood, but the well known
accepted function, which is related to the activity of
kallikreins is to dissolve the seminogelins and fibronectin
formed in semen after ejaculation, and plays a role in the
regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis.
6
Although
it is the most important tumor marker, PSA is organ-
specific but not cancer-specific, so the presence of other
prostate diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia
(BPH), and prostatitis may influence its effectiveness
for cancer detection.
4
e cutoff point of total PSA
(tPSA) at which prostate biopsy should be taken was
not identified in different geographical regions, and/or
ethnic groups. Although the use of a baseline tPSA
cutoff value 4 ng/mL for PC screening is well established
in many different areas, many studies found men with
PC having tPSA level less than 4.0 ng/ml.
7
In clinical
practice, biopsies are generally performed only when
the results of a PSA test or DRE is abnormal, which
leads to misdiagnosis of most of the small PCs present
in many older men. One of the approaches suggested
to increase the sensitivity and specificity of tPSA to
detect PC was to use it in combination with DRE.
8
e
aim of this study is to assess the value of DRE and PSA
determination in the detection of PC among patients
presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
Methods. Between August 2008 and January 2010,
the tPSA of 540 patients referred to the Urology Clinic
of Soba University Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan due
to lower urinary tract symptoms was measured. e
collection of blood samples took place between 08:00
and 11:00 before any manipulation that could alter PSA
concentration. ose with tPSA value ranging between
2.5 and 10 ng/ml (118 patients) were included in the
study. e patients were grouped according to: tPSA
ranging between 2.5 and 4.0 ng/ml; and patients with
tPSA ranging between 4.1 and 10 ng/ml. e DRE was
performed by qualified urologist, and the 118 patients
were classified, based on DRE in patients with suspicion
of PC and patients with no suspicious PC. Multiple
transrectal sextant biopsies were performed in all 118
patients, and based on histology results, patients were
classified in patients with PC, and patients with BPH.
e study was conducted according to the principles
of the Helsinki Declaration, and was approved by the
ethical committee of Al Neelain University. Each patient
has signed a written informed consent.
Specimen collection and processing. Serum sample
was used for the assay of tPSA, using automated
immunoenzymometic automated system (Tosoh
Corporation, Tokyo, Japan). Blood specimens collected
were stored at 18-25ºC until a clot had formed (usually
15-45 minutes), then centrifuged to obtain the serum
sample for assay. Samples were stored at 2-8ºC for up
to 24 hours prior to analysis. If the analysis could not
be carried out within 24 hours, the samples were stored
frozen at -20ºC, or below for up to a suitable day (not
more than 60 days).
9
Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for
Social Sciences software version 17 for Windows®(SPSS
Inc, Chicago, IL, USA). e data were expressed in
mean ± standard deviation (SD). Sensitivity, specificity,
and positive predictive values (PPV) were calculated,
and the means were compared using independent
sample t-test.
Results. Out of 118 elderly men presented with
LUTS, 69.4% (82 men) were at last diagnosed with
BPH, and 30.5% (36 men) with PC. e mean age in
the study population (118 men) was 70 years (range;
56-83), the mean of tPSA was 6.4 ng/ml, 18.6% (23
men) have tPSA between 2.5-4.0 ng/ml, while 81.4%
(95 men) have tPSA between 4.1-10 ng/ml. e DRE
results revealed that 49 patients (41.5%) had abnormal
DRE suggesting PC, while 69 patients (58.5%) had no
suspicious PC. In the study group, DRE in the detection
of PC has a sensitivity of 63.8%, and specificity of 68%,
while the PPV was 46.9% (Table 1). e results of the
study also showed that out of 82 men with BPH, 24%
(20 men) have tPSA between 2.5-4.0 ng/ml, while 75%
(62 men) have tPSA between 4.1-10 ng/ml in patients
with PC, 8% (3 men) have tPSA between 2.5-4.0
ng/ml, while 92% (33 men) have tPSA between 4.1-10
ng/ml. e mean ± SD of tPSA level in BPH patients
was 5.8 ± 2.1 ng/ml, while in PC it was 7.8 ± 2.0 ng/
ml, and no significant differences were found between
the 2 groups in this intermediate tPSA levels (2.5-10
ng/ml) (p=0.929). e biopsy results of patients with
abnormal finding of DRE and low tPSA levels (2.5-4.0
ng/ml), showed none of them had PC, indicating that
DRE is of low value in patients with low tPSA levels
(Table 2). e sensitivity was 91.6%, and specificity was
24% of tPSA in the detection of PC, while the PPV was
34.7% (Table 1). e analyzed data also showed that the
1135
www.smj.org.sa Saudi Med J 2011; Vol. 32 (11)
Serum total PSA and DRE in the diagnosis of PC ... Abdrabo et al
combination of the 2 results: tPSA and DRE improved
the PPV to 49% and sensitivity to 100% (Table 2).
Discussion. e use of serum tPSA levels and the
DRE improved the early detection rate for PC however,
the use of either of these tests may result in misdiagnosis
and a low prediction of PC. In the present study, we
enrolled 118 men with tPSA levels of 2.5-10.0 ng/ml,
and with or with no suspicious DRE, and to evaluate
the efficacy of tPSA and DRE in PC detection at
low and intermediate tPSA levels. e recent study
indicated that the sensitivity of DRE to detect PC was
68%, while the specificity was 63.3%, and the PPV was
47%, and this finding is in agreement with the results
reported by Galic et al
10
who observed a PPV of 49%,
and higher than that reported by Seo et al (22.3%)
11
and Ng et al
(37%),
12
while in another study carried out
by Cooner et al
13
revealed that the PPV was 36% for
cancer detection using DRE. e results of the recent
study showed that PPV of tPSA in cancer detection was
34.7%, and this result was higher than that reported in
2 previous studies by Seo et al in 2007 (PPV=31%),
11
and Manyahi et al in 2009 (PPV=16%),
8
and lower
than that reported by Ng et al in 2005
12
who reported
that the PPV of tPSA is 67% in patients with abnormal
finding of DRE, and this is may be due to the small
sample size of this study.
e positive predictive value of tPSA in patients with
abnormal findings of DRE was 49%, and this indicates
that the combination of the 2 detection methods (tPSA
and DRE) showed better detection rate, and pointed
towards PC with sensitivity of 100%, and a PPV
of 49%. Our results is in complete accordance with
previous literature.
10
e recent study indicated that in
most patients with cancer their tPSA levels was >4.0
ng/ml, showing that it is rare to find patient with cancer
having tPSA <4.0 ng/ml, however, we have to take into
consideration the sample size of the current study as the
previously reported results by Ng et al in 2005,
12
and
ompson et al in 2004
7
indicated that patients with
cancer having tPSA level <4.0 ng/ml is not rare.
One of the limitations in this study is its small
sample size. Although Sudanese patients with prostate
problems are not rare, most of the participants had not
met our inclusion criteria. e other limitation was the
lack of tumor characteristics, thus, other studies should
include a larger number of participants and data with
tumor characteristics that should be made available.
In conclusion, although tPSA determination detected
a considerable proportion of tumors, urologists should
take the results of the diagnostic tools (tPSA and DRE)
at the same time for diagnosis of PC in men with lower
urinary tract symptoms.
Acknowledgment. e authors gratefully acknowledge
Professor AbdElraoof Sharfi, Consultant Urologist, Soba University
Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan and his staff for their effort and assistance
in obtaining biopsies and for patient examination.
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Table 1 - Results of prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal
examination (DRE) in prostate cancer (PC) detection of
studied patients in Soba University Hospital, Khartoum,
Sudan.
Tests Biopsy results Sensitivity and
specificity
BPH PC Total
DRE, n
Sensitivity=63.8%
Specificity=68.0%
PPV= 46.9%
No suspicious 56 13 69
Suspicious 26 23
49
PSA, n
Sensitivity=91.6%
Specificity=24.0%
PPV= 34.7%
2.5-4.0 ng/ml 20 3 23
4.1-10 ng/ml 62 33 95
BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia, PPV - positive predictive values
Table 2 - Results of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in patients with
abnormal digital rectal examination of studied patients in Soba
University Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan.
Test Biopsy result Specificity and
PPV
BPH PC Total
PSA, n
Sensitivity=100%
PPV=49%
2.5-4.0 ng/ml 2 0 2
4.1-10 ng/ml 24 23 47
BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia, PC - prostate cancer,
PPV - positive predictive values
1136
Serum total PSA and DRE in the diagnosis of PC ... Abdrabo et al
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... In our study, PSA had a specicity of 2.15% at a cut-off value of 4ng/ml while DRE was 60.22%. Lower values of 20.2% and 44.7% were found for 22 PSA and DRE respectively, by Ojewola et al. 20 Abdrabo et al inferred a similar specicity result for DRE (68%) which was far higher than the 24% noted for PSA in the same study. ...
... In contrast to the observation by Abdrabo et 20 al , the combined specicity of PSA and DRE noted in our study was far less than the values for the individual PSA ranges. This is 24 similar to the ndings by Al Rumaihi et al ...
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Introduction: Prostate cancer remains a health concern worldwide with an increasing global incidence. In Nigerian men it is the most common diagnosed cancer. Diagnosis of prostate cancer is made through biopsy and histology which in turn is dependent on prostate specific antigen and digital rectal examination finding. Objective: This study sought to look at the correlation between PSA ,DRE and histology in patient who had prostate biopsy. Method: It was a prospective study of all patients who presented to our clinic and had prostate biopsy. Data on age of patient, size of prostate, PSA, DRE finding of benign or suspicious for cancer of the prostate and the final histology were collated and there correlation analysed using SPSS and Microsft Excel 2013. Result: The mean age, prostate volume and PSA were 70.99+ 9.1years, 97.6+ 88.1ml and 70.13 + 73.2ng/ml respectively. The positive predictive value, negative predictive value and overall diagnostic accuracy were 55.61, 66.67, 55.77 respectively for PSA above 4ng/ml , 71.97, 73.68, 72.60 respectively for DRE alone and 55.59, 0.00, 55.29 respectively for a combination of PSA above 4ng/ml and DRE. Conclusion: PSA and DRE singly or in combination have a poor PPV, NPV and ODA to help counseling of patients prior to prostate biopsy.
... [4] However, PSA is organ specific but not cancer specific, so the presence of other prostate diseases such as BPH, and prostatitis may influence its effectiveness for cancer detection. [5] Hence, the PSA-based prostate cancer detection is fraught with high false-positive rate. ...
... older men. Patients with LUTS who have PSA levels higher than 4ng/ml are primarily advised to undergo prostate biopsy to rule out cancer. [7] But PSA is organ specific but not cancer-specific, so the presence of other prostate diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH], and prostatitis may influence its effectiveness for cancer detection. [8] Hence, the PSA-based prostate cancer detection is fraught with high false-positive rate. ...
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The aim of this study is to compare the role of prostate specific antigen [PSA], digital rectal examination [DRE] and Trans rectal Ultrasonography [TRUS] in detection of prostate cancer among patients presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms [LUTS] and having International Prostate Symptoms Score [IPSS] not less than 7. This study was carried out in I.P.G.M.E.R and S.S.K.M Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, from March 2011 to March 2012.Sixty patients presenting with LUTS and with IPSS not less than 7, had been screened for prostate cancer using PSA estimation, DRE and TRUS. Trans rectal sextant prostate biopsy was performed in all patients. The PSA estimation revealed 85% sensitivity and 72.5% specificity for the patients with serum total PSA level >10 ng/ml. The positive predictive value [PPV] was 60.7%. If 4 ng/ml is taken as lower cut off value for serum total PSA, the sensitivity increases to 95% whereas specificity reduces to 46.66% and PPV becomes 50%.DRE alone showed 60% sensitivity, 92.5% specificity and 80% PPV for the diagnosis of carcinoma prostate. TRUS has got highest sensitivity [75%], highest specificity [85%]. But the PPV was 71.43%. When DRE and serum PSA >10ng/ml was combined the sensitivity and specificity was raised to 90% and 70% respectively. The PPV was 60%. This was almost comparable with the combination of DRE, serum PSA>10ng/ml and TRUS which has got 90% sensitivity and 85% specificity. The PPV was 75%. None of the single screening tools has got that much efficacy in differentiating carcinoma of prostate from benign hypertrophy of prostrate in patients with LUTS Combining PSA, DRE and TRUS increases sensitivity, specificity and PPV of PC detection.
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