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Arch Hellen Med, 19(6), November-December 2002, 660-664


Assessment of serum prostate specific antigen (sPSA) in childhood


1Department of Pediatric Urology, “Aghia Sophia” Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece
2Section of Clinical Biochemistry, Department of Pathology
and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada

OBJECTIVE Prostate specific antigen (PSA) has been extensively evaluated as a tumor marker in male adults, but data regarding its levels in childhood are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate serum PSA levels (sPSA) in relation to age and sex in childhood.

METHOD The study sample consisted of 205 children (123 male/82 female) aged 2 days–204 months (mean 59.27±3.78 months) without urogenital or endocrine disorders. Levels of sPSA were measured using the highly sensitive “third generation” PSA assay TRIFA (time-resolved immunofluorometric assay) with detection of sPSA levels >1 ng/L (0.001 ng/mL). The children were divided into 4 subgroups A–D according to age. A: 0–12 months (male=34/female=20), B: 13–48 months (male=37/ female=21), C: 49–144 months (male=41/female=32) and D>144 months (male=11/female=9). The data collected were analyzed statistically using the ANOVA model (analysis of variance).

RESULTS Accurate measurement of sPSA was possible in both male and female children. Levels of sPSA in male children ranged from 1–2768 ng/L (median=38.411±1.318 ng/L) and in female children from 1–287 ng/L (median=4.059±1.392 ng/L). The sPSA levels did not differ significantly between females of all age groups or between sexes for groups A–C, but were significantly higher in male children in group D, being 30 fold higher than in females, with median values 142.59±1.53 ng/L vs 4.85±1.58 ng/L (P<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS (a) sPSA levels can be measured in children of both sexes with the use of a highly sensitive assay method. (b) sPSA levels do not differ significantly between male and female children until the age of 12 years, after which a significant and steep increase of sPSA is noted in male children, reflecting the development of the prostate gland. (c) sPSA assessment could be used as a potential marker in the diagnosis and follow-up of urogenital disorders in children.

Key words: Childhood, Prostate specific antigen (PSA), Urogenital disease.

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