Contemporary Role of Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 in the Management of Prostate Cancer

Marco Auprich, Anders Bjartell, Felix K. -H. Chun, Alexandre de la Taille, Stephen J. Freedland, Alexander Haese, Jack Schalken, Arnulf Stenzl, Bertrand Tombal, Henk van der Poel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Context: Newly discovered biomarkers ideally should prove clinical usefulness, provide additional detection, staging, and prognosis information to improve individual risk assessment, and potentially permit targeted cancer therapy. Objective: To review, display, and evaluate the current evidence regarding the biologic and analytic approach of urinary prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) in prostate cancer (PCa) detection, staging, and prognosis, and its therapeutic potential. Evidence acquisition: A systematic and comprehensive Medline search was performed using the Medical Subject Headings search terms PCA3, DD3, UPM3, prostate cancer, cell-lines, prostate tissue, prostate biopsy, detection, diagnosis, radical prostatectomy, staging, grading, progression, and gene therapy. Results were restricted to English-language papers published within the period 1999-2011. Evidence synthesis: The PCA3 gene is highly overexpressed in specific PCa cell lines and prostatic tumours. In 2006, a simple and robust urine test (Progensa) became commercially available. Despite its costs, prostate cancer antigen 3 (PCA3) is superior to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and percent free PSA in the early detection of PCa. PCA3 improves the diagnostic accuracy of externally validated nomograms among men with an elevated PSA undergoing biopsy. PCA3 independently predicts low-volume disease and pathologically insignificant PCa but is not associated with locally advanced disease and is limited in the prediction of aggressive cancer. Preliminary data demonstrate that combining PCA3 with other new biomarkers further improves diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. Finally, findings of the first PCA3-Gene-ViroTherapy study suggest therapeutic potential by exploiting PCA3 overexpression. Conclusions: PCA3, integrated in novel biopsy nomograms or risk stratification tools, can be used to counsel or confirm biopsy indications. If confirmed in further studies, using PCA3 together with established staging risk factors could assist clinicians in specific pretreatment decision making. So far no evidence for the usefulness of PCA3 in active surveillance programs has been presented. Published by Elsevier B. V. on behalf of European Association of Urology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1054
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Urology and Nephrology

Free keywords

  • PCA3
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Prostate cancer detection
  • Staging
  • Targeted
  • therapy


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