The Molecular Testing Laboratory at MCTP, in association with MLabs, Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan, is now offering PCA3 testing as a supplement to the PSA test, upon physician request. This page will provide information about the PCA3 test and links to additional resources. If you are a patient and are interested in PCA3 testing, you are advised to discuss this information directly with your physician to determine if such testing would be appropriate for your individual case. Your physician may then contact the Molecular Testing Lab at MCTP or MLabs for more details on testing (contact information listed below).
The serum PSA test (prostate specific antigen) is the conventional screening test that is often administered to help physicians determine if prostate cancer might be present. However, there may be some problems with this type of testing, as PSA levels can be elevated in non-cancerous conditions such as benign hyperplasia, and some people with cancer may have levels of PSA that are not elevated. As a result, there may be false positives when no cancer is present, and some cancers may escape early detection. Patients may then have to go undergo repeat biopsy procedures, and for some patients, this additional testing may not be needed.
The PCA3 test was developed to supplement the interpretation of the conventional PSA testing and help address some of these difficulties. PCA3 (prostate cancer antigen-3) is a gene that is found in the prostate, which is more active (over-expressed) during cancer. The PCA3 test measures the urine level of a genetic product (PCA3 mRNA) in the first urine collected following an attentive digital rectal examination, with higher levels possibly assocated with a postive prostate cancer biopsy, as determined by a calculated score. PCA-3 may help to improve the specificity of prostate cancer detection, providing additional information on the risk of prostate cancer over the use of the PSA test alone. Therefore, it may help physicians to determine if an individual is at a greater risk for having prostate cancer, and provide an indication of whether or not a prostate cancer biopsy may be positive for cancer. This could assist physicians determine if performing a biopsy would be helpful for the patient. The PCA3 test is not presently indicated to be used as a screening test for prostate cancer.
If you are interested in receiving this type of testing, then you may wish to discuss this information with your physician to determine if this test would be useful for your case. It is very important that you consult with your physician and gather as much information as possible prior to making medical decision to determine if testing would be appropriate and beneficial.
To better equip you to make informed decisions in this regard, the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine is available to answer such questions. You may call the U-M Cancer AnswerLine at (800) 865-1125 (8:00AM-5:30PM ET) to speak with a registered oncology nurse for helpful information on cancer. You may also follow this link to a form where you can email your questions to them.
If your physician determines that the test may be appropriate for you, he or she may then contact MLabs as listed below for more information and arrange for testing.
We wish all patients the very best outcome in their medical issues, and hope this information will be of assistance to you.
PCA3 Information for Physicians:
Click here to link to PCA3.org for more general information about PCA3
Physicians may be interested in reading the following research papers related to this topic:
- Prevalance of prostate cancer among men with a prostate-specific antigen level < or= 4.0 ng per milliliter,Thompson, I.M., et al., N England Journal of Medicine, 2004, May 27;350:(22) 2239-2246. Erratum in: N Engl J Med 2004 Sep 30;35(14):1470 PMID 15163773
To arrange for testing physicians may contact either the Molecular Testing Lab at MCTP or MLabs at the University of Michigan:
(2) MLabs for information on specimen procurement and handling (click here for MLabs website):
MLabs Clinic location:
1500 East Medical Center Drive
Floor 2, Room 2F367, Reception: Pathology-Central Distribution
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5054
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday (7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and Saturday (8 a.m. – 12 pm)