An increased prostate specific antigen density (serum prostate specific antigen divided by prostate volume) is an established parameter to help determine the need to perform prostate biopsies. A man with a high prostate specific antigen and a normal size prostate gland is more likely to have cancer than a man with the same prostate specific antigen and a large gland. Prostate specific antigen in relation to prostate size should also reflect the volume of cancer in the gland. One group defined clinically unimportant prostate cancer as tumor volume less than 0.5 cc, organ confined disease and Gleason less than 7. Another group noted that at the time of biopsy, a prostate specific antigen density less than 0.15 ng/ml/cc combined with low risk clinical tumor features predicted insignificant cancer. There are limited published validating data on the association of prostate specific antigen density with the criteria for prostate cancer aggressiveness. We tested the association of prostate specific antigen density with features of tumor aggressiveness in a screened and in a nonscreened cohort of patients with clinically localized prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy.Materials and Methods
The screened patient cohort included 1,280 patients with screen detected prostate cancer treated from 1990 to 2002 at Washington University, and the nonscreened cohort included 382 patients treated from 2003 to 2004 at Northwestern University. We recorded the clinical and pathological tumor parameters in a prospective database. Parameters evaluated were pathological tumor stage, Gleason sum, tumor volume, biochemical progression and the previously mentioned 2 criteria for clinically unimportant cancers. We grouped patients into 4 prostate specific antigen density categories of less than 0.1, 0.1 to 0.14, 0.15 to 0.19 and greater than 0.19 ng/ml/cc.Results
There was a significant trend for worsening clinicopathological prognostic features as prostate specific antigen density increased. There were 357 (82%), 283 (75%), 171 (75%) and 192 (55%) men with organ confined disease with clear surgical margins if prostate specific antigen density was less than 0.1, 0.1 to 0.14, 0.15 to 0.19 and greater than 0.19 ng/ml/cc, respectively (p <0.001). There were 86 (20%), 102 (27%), 64 (28%) and 157 (45%) men with a Gleason sum greater than 7 when grouped into each increasing PSA density category, respectively (p <0.001). There were 91 (21%), 91 (25%), 74 (33%) and 157 (46%) men with a total cancer volume greater than 0.5 cc when grouped into each increasing PSA density category, respectively (p <0.001). Prostate specific antigen velocity was greater than 2 ng/ml per year in 11%, 30%, 27% and 46% of men if prostate specific antigen density was less than 0.1, 0.1 to 0.14, 0.15 to 0.19 and greater than 0.19 ng/ml/cc, respectively (p <0.001).Conclusions
Prostate specific antigen density measurements are useful in helping to determine the aggressiveness of clinically localized prostate cancer, and can be used as an adjunct in predicting insignificant cancer and outcomes after local therapy.