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Também chamado: Total PSA; Free PSA; Complexed PSA
Nome formal: Prostate Specific Antigen

A amostra

O que está sendo pesquisado?

PSA is a protein produced primarily by cells in the prostate, a small gland that encircles the urethra in males and produces a fluid that makes up part of semen. Most of the PSA that the prostate produces is released into this fluid, but small amounts of it are also released into the bloodstream. PSA exists in two forms in the blood: free (not bound) and complexed (cPSA, bound to a protein). The most frequently used PSA test is the total PSA, which measures the sum of the free PSA and the cPSA in the blood. When a doctor orders a “PSA test,” he is referring to a total PSA.

This test is used as a tumor marker to screen for and to monitor prostate cancer. It is a good tool but not a perfect one, and currently there is no consensus among experts on the usefulness of this test for screening asymptomatic men. Elevated levels of PSA are associated with prostate cancer, but they may also be seen with prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Mild to moderately increased concentrations of PSA may be seen in those of African American heritage, and levels tend to increase in all men as they age.

PSA is not diagnostic of cancer. The gold standard for identifying prostate cancer is the prostate biopsy, collecting small samples of prostate tissue and identifying abnormal cells under the microscope. The total PSA test and digital rectal exam (DRE) are used together to help determine the need for a prostate biopsy. The goal of screening is to minimize unnecessary biopsies and to detect clinically significant prostate cancer while it is still confined to the prostate. The term clinically significant is important because while prostate cancer becomes relatively common in men as they age, many of the tumors are very slow-growing and this type of cancer is an uncommon cause of death. Doctors must try to both detect prostate cancer and to differentiate between slow-growing cases and prostate cancers that may grow aggressively and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). Over-diagnosing and over-treatment are issues with which doctors are currently grappling. In some cases, the treatment can be worse than the cancer, with the potential for causing significant side effects, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction. The PSA test and DRE can detect most cases of prostate cancer, but they cannot, in general, predict the course of a person’s disease.

Free PSA and cPSA tests can be ordered individually. The tests that measure them were developed to better differentiate between cancer-related and non-cancer-related PSA increases. Both of the tests operate on the principle that men with prostate cancer frequently have altered ratios of the two forms of PSA - decreased amounts of free PSA and increased amounts of cPSA.

Como a amostra é obtida para o exame?

A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.

NOTA: Se exames médicos em você ou em alguém importante para você o deixam ansioso ou constrangido, ou se você tem dificuldade de lidar com eles, leia um ou mais dos seguintes artigos: Lidando com dor, desconforto ou ansiedade durante o exame, Conselhos sobre exames de sangue, Conselhos para ajudar crianças durante exames médicos, e Conselhos para ajudar idosos durante exames médicos.

Outro artigo, Siga essa amostra, fornece uma visão da coleta e do processamento de uma amostra de sangue e de uma amostra de cultura da garganta.

É necessário algum preparo para garantir a qualidade da amostra?

The sample should be collected prior to the physician performing a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prior to (or several weeks after) a prostate biopsy.