Beyond PSA: The role of prostate health index (phi)

Matteo Ferro, Ottavio De Cobelli, Giuseppe Lucarelli, Angelo Porreca, Gian Maria Busetto, Francesco Cantiello, Rocco Damiano, Riccardo Autorino, Gennaro Musi, Mihai Dorin Vartolomei, Matteo Muto, Daniela Terracciano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Widespread use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in screening procedures allowed early identification of an increasing number of prostate cancers (PCas), mainly including indolent cancer. Availability of different therapeutic strategies which have a very different impact on the patient’s quality of life suggested a strong need for tools able to identify clinically significant cancer at diagnosis. Multi-parametric magnetic resonance showed very good performance in pre-biopsy diagnosis. However, it is an expensive tool and requires an experienced radiologist. In this context, a simple blood-based test is worth investigating. In this context, researchers focused their attention on the development of a laboratory test able to minimize overdiagnosis without losing the identification of aggressive tumors. Results: Recent literature data on PCa biomarkers revealed a clear tendency towards the use of panels of biomarkers or a combination of biomarkers and clinical variables. Phi, the 4Kscore, and Stockholm3 as circulating biomarkers and the Mi-prostate score, Exo DX Prostate, and Select MD-X as urinary biomarker-based tests have been developed. In this scenario, phi is worthy of attention as a noninvasive test significantly associated with aggressive PCa. Conclusions: Literature data showed that phi had good diagnostic performance to identify clinically significant (cs) PCa, suggesting that it could be a useful tool for personalized treatment decision‐making. In this review, phi potentialities, limitations, and comparisons with other blood-and urinary-based tests were explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1184
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2 2020


  • Clinical significance
  • Overdiagnosis
  • Phi
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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