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Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) has been
since the mid 80’s the most commonly used biomarker for
measuring current and future risk of prostate cancer, for
its early detection and to measure response to treatments
and detecting recurrence in all stages of the disease.
PSA’s early development came along with progress in
the field of immunology, which allowed detection and
study of antigens from different tissues and fluids when
injecting them into rabbits to promote immune response.
Rubin Flocks in 1960 was the first to investigate and
discover prostate-specific antigens in benign and
malignant tissue. Some years later, Hara, a Japanese
forensic investigator, found “gamma seminoprotein”, that
he used to detect human semen in rape cases. However,
his work published in Japanese did not reach the Englishspeaking
In 1970 Ablin discovered both in prostatic fluid and
tissue what he called “prostate-specific antigen”, but he
didn’t characterize or describe it.
Investigators Li and Beling, and Sensabaugh,
approached the current PSA, but they were limited by
available technology at that time.
Dr T Ming Chu led a research team on prostate cancer in
New York, USA and published their results in 1979. He
finally received the patent for the discovery of “human
purified prostate antigen” in 1984. Due to this work, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in USA, approved
the use of PSA for monitoring recurrence after treatment.
It was later known that PSA was not prostate-specific
since it was produced in other tissues and fluids, but it
was recognized that it was human species-specific.
Works by Papsidero and Stamey showed new indications
and utilities for PSA, but it was Catalona who first used
it as a marker for prostate cancer in 1991. Thanks to
these advances FDA authorized in 1994 the clinical use
of PSA for early detection of prostate cancer.
Sobre el editor:
Revista Internacional de Urología indexada y peer-reviewed, fundada en 1944, dirigida a toda la comunidad científica. Aquí encontrarás las últimas novedades y hallazgos urológicos. Publicamos 10 números anuales.