Clinical Use of [-2]proPSA (p2PSA) and Its derivatives (%p2PSA and prostate health index) for the detection of prostate cancer: A review of the literature

Alberto Abrate, Giovanni Lughezzani, Giulio Maria Gadda, Giuliana Lista, Ella Kinzikeeva, Nicola Fossati, Alessandro Larcher, Paolo Dell'Oglio, Francesco Mistretta, Nicolòmaria Buffi, Giorgio Guazzoni, Massimo Lazzeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is recognizedas an organ-specific marker with low specificity and sensitivity in discriminating prostate cancer (PCa) from other benign conditions, such as prostatic hyperplasia or chronic prostatitis. Thus, in the case of clinical suspicion, a PCa diagnosis cannot be made without a prostate biopsy. [-2]proPSA (p2PSA), a precursor of PSA, has been investigated as a new marker to accurately detect PCa. The aim of this systematic review was to discuss the available literature regarding the clinical validity and utility of p2PSA and its derivatives, p2PSA/fPSA (%p2PSA) and the Prostate Health Index (PHI). A systematic search of the PubMed and Scopus electronic databases was performed in accordance with the PRISMA statement (, considering the time period from January 1990 to January 2014 and using the following search terms: proprostate specific antigen, proenzyme PSA, proPSA, [-2]proPSA, p2PSA, Prostate Health Index, and PHI. To date, 115 studies have been published, but only 35 were considered for the qualitative analysis. These studies suggested that p2PSA is the most cancer-specific form of PSA, being preferentially expressed in PCa tissue and being significantly elevated in the serum of men with PCa. It is now evident that p2PSA, %p2PSA, and PHI measurements improve the specificity of the available tests (PSA and derivatives) in detecting PCa. Moreover, increasing PHI values seem to correlate with more aggressive disease. Some studies have compared p2PSA and its derivatives with other new biomarkers and found p2PSA to be significantly more accurate. Indeed, the implementation of these tests in clinical practice has the potential to significantly increase the physician's ability to detect PCa and avoid unnecessary biopsies, while also having an effective impact on costs. Further studies in large, multicenter, prospective trials are required to confirm these encouraging results on the clinicalutility of these new biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-445
Number of pages10
JournalKorean Journal of Urology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Diagnosis
  • Prostate health index
  • Prostatecancer
  • [-2]proPSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Medicine(all)

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