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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA or hK3) is a glandular kallikrein with abundant expression in the prostate that is widely used to detect and monitor prostate cancer (PCa), although the serum level is frequently elevated also in benign and inflammatory prostatic diseases. PSA testing is useful for early detection of localized PCa and for the detection of disease recurrence after treatment. However, PSA has failed to accurately estimate cancer volume and preoperative staging. There is no PSA level in serum that definitively distinguishes men with benign conditions from those with prostate cancer, although PCa is rare in men with PSA levels in serum < 2.0 ng/ml. This prompted searches for enhancing parameters to combine with PSA testing, such as PSA density, PSA velocity, and age-specific reference ranges. Due to the protease structure, PSA occurs in different molecular forms in serum and their concentrations vary according to the type of prostatic disease. Human glandular kallikrein 2 (hK2) is very similar to PSA, but expressed at higher levels in prostate adenocarcinoma than in normal prostate epithelium. Blood testing for hK2 combined with different PSA forms improves discrimination of men with benign prostatic disease from those with prostate cancer. Many data have also been reported on the extra-prostatic expression of both PSA and hK2, and it is now believed that they may both have functions in tissues outside the prostate.

Original publication




Journal article


Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci

Publication Date





357 - 399


Amniotic Fluid, Breast Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Male, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Neoplasm Staging, Pregnancy, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Prostatic Diseases, Prostatic Hyperplasia, Prostatic Neoplasms, Tissue Kallikreins