Clinical Biofluid Assays for Prostate Cancer

Talaibek Borbiev, Indu Kohaar, Gyorgy Petrovics*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This mini review summarizes the currently available clinical biofluid assays for PCa. The second most prevalent cancer worldwide is PCa. PCa is a heterogeneous disease, with a large percentage of prostate tumors being indolent, and with a relatively slow metastatic potential. However, due to the high case numbers, the absolute number of PCa-related deaths is still high. In fact, it causes the second highest number of cancer deaths in American men. As a first step for the diagnosis of PCa, the PSA test has been widely used. However, it has low specificity, which results in a high number of false positives leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Newer derivatives of the original PSA test, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved 4K (four kallikreins) and the PHI (Prostate Health Index) blood tests, have higher specificities. Tissue-based PCa tests are problematic as biopsies are invasive and have limited accuracy due to prostate tumor heterogeneity. Liquid biopsies offer a minimally or non-invasive choice for the patients, while providing a more representative reflection of the spatial heterogeneity in the prostate. In addition to the abovementioned blood-based tests, urine is a promising source of PCa biomarkers, offering a supplementary avenue for early detection and improved tumor classification. Four urine-based PCa tests are either FDA- or CLIA-approved: PCA3 (PROGENSA), ExoDX Prostate Intelliscore, MiPS, and SelectMDx. We will discuss these urine-based, as well as the blood-based, clinical PCa tests in more detail. We also briefly discuss a few promising biofluid marker candidates (DNA methylation, micro-RNAs) which are not in clinical application. As no single assay is perfect, we envision that a combination of biomarkers, together with imaging, will become the preferred practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • blood-based and urine-based biomarkers
  • liquid biopsy
  • prostate cancer


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