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Serum prostate specific antigen, prostate specific antigen density and free:total prostate specific antigen are known to be useful for determining the risk of prostate cancer in patients undergoing prostate cancer screening. The patient with a positive biopsy presents no future prostate specific antigen dilemma. Those with negative biopsies often go on to numerous repeat biopsies. Our goal was to establish criteria that could be used to identify patients who will require repeat prostate biopsies (possibly false negative initial biopsy), while not exposing the low risk population (probable true negative initial biopsy) to additional invasive procedures. Between March 1991 and March 1998, 148 patients who had a biopsy for an elevated prostate specific antigen value (4.1-10.0) or an altered digital rectal examination, had no cancer found in the specimen. From these, 51 (34.4%) had repeated biopsies, while the others persisted on close follow-up. We examined their serum prostate specific antigen, prostate specific antigen density and free:total prostate specific antigen value, as well as their age and histology results of the initial and repeat biopsy, to determine if any predictor of the need for a repeat biopsy could be identified. Eight (15.7%) from 51 men who had repeat biopsy had prostate cancer detected. Forty three (84.3%) patients persisted with a negative biopsy, despite filling the criteria for re-biopsy. Multivariate analysis failed to identify any significant predictors of prostate cancer in the repeat biopsy group. Despite initial success, the prostate specific antigen derivatives and free:total prostate specific antigen have not safely limited the number of biopsies performed for an abnormal prostate specific antigen (4.1-10.0). Neither prostate specific antigen density nor free:total prostate specific antigen predicted the need for repeat biopsy in this specific group. The results of this ongoing study demonstrate that to date, prostate specific antigen and prostate specific antigen derivatives can not be utilized to determine which patients will be at high risk for requiring repeat prostate biopsy. All patients must be closely monitored for evidence of a change in status from benign to malignant disease, and new markers for this purpose are urgently needed.