Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a kallikrein-like serine protease mainly expressed in the human prostate. It is responsible for the proteolysis of the gel-forming proteins in human semen. Two major extracellular protease inhibitors, alpha-1-antichymotrypsin (ACT) and alpha-2-macroglobulin (AMG) may inactivate PSA escaping from the prostate. The predominant immunodetected form of PSA in serum is complexed to ACT but PSA exists also in a free non-complexed form despite the large excess of inhibitors. The concentrations of PSA in serum are normally less than 4 micrograms/l. but elevated concentrations are found in a majority of patients with prostate cancer (CAP) and the analysis of PSA in serum has become invaluable in the detection and monitoring of patients with CAP. However, it is not an ideal tumor marker in the sense that there are CAP patients with normal PSA concentrations in serum and patients with benign hyperplasia of the prostate (BPH) with elevated PSA concentrations. Analysis of the various PSA forms in serum attracts much interest as there is a higher proportion of PSA in complex with ACT in patients with CAP than in those with BPH. Optimal combinations of monoclonal antibodies have been used to design sensitive noncross-reacting immunoassays for the detection of free PSA, PSA-ACT complexes and the detection of both free PSA and PSA complexes in an equimolar fashion (i.e. total PSA). Several studies have demonstrated that the analysis of the proportions of the free-to-total PSA in serum may increase the diagnostic specificity by 15-20% without significant loss in the sensitivity for detection of CAP.
|Journal||Clinica Chimica Acta|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Clinical Laboratory Medicine
- Prostate-specific antigen
- Human prostatic glandular kallikrein (hK-2)
- Prostate cancer