In recent years, several new biomarkers supplementing the role of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) have become available for men with prostate cancer. Although widely used in an ad hoc manner, the role of PSA in screening asymptomatic men for prostate cancer is controversial. Several expert panels, however, have recently recommended limited PSA screening following informed consent in average-risk men, aged 55-69 years. As a screening test for prostate cancer however, PSA has limited specificity and leads to overdiagnosis which in turn results in overtreatment. To increase specificity and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies, biomarkers such as percent free PSA, prostate health index (PHI) or the 4K score may be used, while Progensa PCA3 may be measured to reduce the number of repeat biopsies in men with a previously negative biopsy. In addition to its role in screening, PSA is also widely used in the management of patients with diagnosed prostate cancer such as in surveillance following diagnosis, monitoring response to therapy and in combination with both clinical and histological criteria in risk stratification for recurrence. For determining aggressiveness and predicting outcome, especially in low- or intermediate-risk men, tissue-based multigene tests such as Decipher, Oncotype DX (Prostate), Prolaris and ProMark, may be used. Emerging therapy predictive biomarkers include AR-V7 for predicting lack of response to specific anti-androgens (enzalutamide, abiraterone), BRAC1/2 mutations for predicting benefit from PARP inhibitor and PORTOS for predicting benefit from radiotherapy. With the increased availability of multiple biomarkers, personalised treatment for men with prostate cancer is finally on the horizon.
Clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine. 2019 Nov 12 [Epub ahead of print]
Michael J Duffy
UCD Clinical Research Centre, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin 4, Ireland.