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BACKGROUND: Early detection of prostate cancer (PCa) centers on measurements of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), but current testing practices suffer from lack of specificity and generate many unnecessary prostate biopsies. Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is present in blood in both intact and cleaved forms. Increased uPAR in blood is correlated with poor prognosis in various cancers, but uPAR has not been shown to be useful in PCa diagnostics. We assessed the ability of immunoassays for specific uPAR forms to discriminate PCa from benign conditions. METHODS: We measured total PSA (tPSA), free PSA (fPSA), intact uPAR [uPAR(I-III)], intact uPAR + cleaved uPAR domains II+III [uPAR(I-III) + uPAR(II-III)], and cleaved uPAR domain I [uPAR(I)] in sera from 224 men with and 166 men without PCa. We assessed differences in serum concentrations between the PCa and noncancer groups within the entire cohort and in men with tPSA concentrations of 2-10 microg/L. The diagnostic accuracy of individual analytes and analyte combinations was explored by logistic regression and ROC analyses and evaluations of sensitivity and specificity pairs. RESULTS: Serum uPAR(I) and uPAR(II-III) were higher in PCa than in benign disease. In men with tPSA between 2 and 10 microg/L, the combination of %fPSA with the ratio uPAR(I)/uPAR(I-III) had a greater area under the ROC curve (0.73) than did %fPSA (0.68). CONCLUSIONS: Specific measurements of different uPAR forms in serum improve the specificity of PCa detection. The uPAR forms may therefore be complementary to PSA for PCa detection, most importantly in men with moderately increased PSA.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Chem

Publication Date





838 - 844


Adult, Aged, Diagnosis, Differential, Humans, Immunoassay, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Prostatic Hyperplasia, Prostatic Neoplasms, ROC Curve, Receptors, Cell Surface, Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator, Regression Analysis, Sensitivity and Specificity, Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator