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STUDY TYPE: Diagnostic (exploratory cohort). LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2b. OBJECTIVE: To assess variation of total prostate-specific antigen (tPSA), free PSA (fPSA), percent fPSA, human glandular kallikrein 2 (hK2) and intact PSA measured three times within 2 weeks. Knowledge of the variation in an individual's PSA level is important for clinical decision-making. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Study participants were 149 patients referred for prostate biopsy, of which 97 had benign disease and 52 had prostate cancer. Three blood samples were drawn with a median of 4 h between first and second samples and 12 days between first and third samples. Variability was described by absolute differences, ratios and intra-individual coefficients of variation. Total PSA, fPSA, hK2 and intact PSA were measured in anticoagulated blood plasma. RESULTS: At baseline, the median tPSA was 6.8 (interquartile range, 4.5-9.6) ng/mL. The intra-individual variation was low for all biomarkers, and lowest for tPSA. For 80% of participants, the ratio between first and second time points for tPSA was in the range 0.91-1.09 and the ratio for percent fPSA was in the range 0.89-1.15. Total coefficients of variation between time 1 and 2 for tPSA, fPSA, percent fPSA, hK2 and intact PSA were 4.0%, 6.6%, 6.0%, 9.2% and 9.5%, respectively. The measurements taken several days apart varied more than those taken on the same day, although the variation between both time points was not large. CONCLUSIONS: The intra-individual variation for all the kallikrein-like markers studied was relatively small, especially for samples drawn the same day. Few cases are reclassified between the time points. This indicates the high short-term biological and technical reproducibility of the tests in clinical use.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1769 - 1774


Adult, Aged, Biomarkers, Tumor, Biopsy, Needle, Cohort Studies, Humans, Kallikreins, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Staging, Observer Variation, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Prostatic Neoplasms, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sweden, Time Factors