Serum prostate-specific antigen as a predictor of prostate volume in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia

Claus Roehrborn, Peter Boyle, A. Lawrence Gould, Joanne Waldstreicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

297 Scopus citations


Objectives. To assess the utility of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) as a predictor of prostate volume by characterizing the relationship between prostate volume and serum PSA in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and no evidence of prostate cancer, stratified by decade of life. Methods. Placebo-controlled multicenter trials in patients with BPH and a safety study in normal young men provided baseline measurements of serum PSA and prostate volume. The analyses included patients with a baseline prostate volume measured by either transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) or magnetic resonance imaging and baseline serum PSA. A common central laboratory was used for all but one of the individual studies; both laboratories used the Hybritech method. Patients 80 years of age or older were excluded. Patients with a baseline serum PSA greater than 10 ng/mL were excluded to reduce the likelihood of including occult prostate cancer cases. The patients in the BPH trials were screened at baseline by digital rectal examination (DRE) and serum PSA. Those with suspicious findings underwent TRUS-guided biopsy; only patients with negative biopsies are included in these analyses. Results. The analyses included 4627 patients, 4448 from the BPH trials and 179 from the safety study. The men in the BPH trials were older (mean age ± SE, 63.7 ± 0.10 years) than the men in the safety study (mean age ± SE, 30.8 ± 0.43), had larger prostates (mean volume ± SE, 43.7 ± 0.38 mL versus 26.3 ± 0.49 mL in the safety study), and had higher serum PSA values (mean ± SE, 2.6 ± 0.03 ng/mL versus 0.7 ± 0.39 ng/mL in the safety study). The relationship between prostate volume and serum PSA was evaluated using only the BPH trial data. Prostate volume and serum PSA have an age-dependent log-linear relationship (ie, their logarithms are linearly related, and the parameters of the relationship depend on age). Older men tend to have a steeper rate of increase in prostate volume with increasing serum PSA (P < 0.001 for differences between slopes), and there was a slight tendency for PSA density to increase with age. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to evaluate the ability of serum PSA to predict threshold prostate sizes in men with BPH. The ROC curve analyses revealed that PSA had good predictive value for assessing prostate volume, with areas under the curve ranging from 0.76 to 0.78 for various prostate volume cutoff points (30, 40, and 50 mL). Conclusions. Prostate volume is strongly related to serum PSA in men with BPH and no evidence of prostate cancer, and the relationship depends on age. Since treatment outcome or risk of long-term complications depend on baseline prostate volume, serum PSA can estimate the degree of prostate enlargement sufficiently accurately to be useful for therapeutic decision making. To achieve a specificity of 70% while maintaining a sensitivity between 65% and 70%, approximate age-specific criteria for detecting men with prostate glands exceeding 40 mL are PSA >1.6 ng/mL, >2.0 ng/mL, and >2.3 ng/mL for men with BPH in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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