Context. - Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a 34-kDa glycoprotein with chymotrypsin-like enzyme activity that circulates both in free forms and complexed to various enzyme inhibitors including antichymotrypsin and α2-macroglobulin. Prostate-specific antigen bound to α2-macroglobulin is not detected by commercial PSA immunoassays. Objective. - To develop a mass spectrometry assay that detects the same forms of PSA as the immunoassays, which could serve as a reference for harmonizing PSA immunoassays. Design. - Prostate-specific antigen was immune extracted from serum, trypsin was digested, and the LSEPAELTDAVK peptide was quantitated on an API 5000 spectrometer. Calibrators were made by adding 10% free and 90% antichymotrypsin-bound PSA to female sera. The assay was standardized to the World Health Organization 96/670 reference standard. Validation of clinical utility and comparisons with 2 immunoassays (Roche cobas and Beckman Access) were performed using frozen sera aliquots from 100 men undergoing prostate biopsy (50 negative, 50 with cancer) and 5 serial samples collected over time from 5 men with advanced prostate cancer. Results. - The antibody extraction efficiency was greater than 99%. The assay has an analytic range from 1.2 to 76 ng/mL, with precision ranging from 8.6% at 1.5 ng/mL to 5.4% at 27 ng/mL. The mass spectrometry assay correlated well with 2 immunoassays. All 3 assays showed statistically equivalent separation of prostate cancer from benign disease using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Conclusions. - This mass spectrometry assay can reliably measure PSA concentrations in human serum and could serve as a reference standard for harmonizing PSA immunoassays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology