Researchers are looking at other tests that might help to diagnose prostate cancer. These tests aren’t widely available and we need more research to find out how useful they are.

To find out more about these tests, speak to your doctor or nurse. Or call our Specialist Nurses.

Free and total PSA test

This blood test measures the amount of two different types of PSA. It can help tell whether you have a high PSA level because of prostate cancer, or because of an enlarged prostate. But doctors don’t yet agree on what levels of the different types of PSA show that a man has prostate cancer, so it’s not used that often. The test is only suitable if you have a PSA level between 4 and 10 ng/ml.

PCA3 test

This urine test measures the activity of a gene called PCA3, which is unusually active in prostate cancer cells. Your doctor or nurse will use a finger to massage your prostate through the wall of the back passage. They will then ask you to give a urine sample. Cells from the prostate pass into the urine where they can be looked at with a special test that looks at your genes. This test might be useful for monitoring men who’ve already had a biopsy, or it might help specialists decide which men should have a biopsy.

At the moment the PCA3 test is only available in a few private hospitals and clinics, as we still need more research about how well it works.

References

Updated: July 2016 | Due for review: July 2018

  • List of references  

    • Catalona WJ, Partin AW, Slawin KM, Brawer MK, Flanigan RC, Patel A, et al. Use of the percentage of free prostate-specific antigen to enhance differentiation of prostate cancer from benign prostatic disease: a prospective multicenter clinical trial. Jama. 1998;279(19):1542–1547.
    • Froehner M, Buck LM, Koch R, Hakenberg OW, Wirth MP. Derivatives of prostate-specific antigen as predictors of incidental prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2009 Jul;104(1):25–8.
    • Mottet N, Bellmunt J, Briers E, Bolla M, Cornford P, De Santis M, et al. EAU Guidelines on Prostate Cancer 2016 [Internet]. European Association of Urology; 2016. Available from: http://uroweb.org/wp-content/uploads/EAU-Guidelines-Prostate-Cancer-2016.pdf
    • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Prostate Cancer: diagnosis and treatment. Full guideline 175. 2014.
    • Nogueira L, Corradi R, Eastham JA. Other biomarkers for detecting prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2010 Jan;105(2):166–9.
    • Schilling D, de Reijke T, Tombal B, de la Taille A, Hennenlotter J, Stenzl A. The Prostate Cancer gene 3 assay: indications for use in clinical practice. BJU Int. 2010 Feb;105(4):452–5.
    • Remzi M, Haese A, Van Poppel H, De La Taille A, Stenzl A, Hennenlotter J, et al. Follow-up of men with an elevated PCA3 score and a negative biopsy: does an elevated PCA3 score indeed predict the presence of prostate cancer? BJU Int. 2010 Oct;106(8):1138–42.