Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 1867–1873 | Cite as

Variability of assay methods for total and free PSA after WHO standardization

  • L. Foj
  • X Filella
  • J. Alcover
  • J. M. Augé
  • J. M. Escudero
  • R. Molina
Research Article


The variability of total PSA (tPSA) and free PSA (fPSA) results among commercial assays has been suggested to be decreased by calibration to World Health Organization (WHO) reference materials. To characterize the current situation, it is necessary to know its impact in the critical cutoffs used in clinical practice. In the present study, we tested 167 samples with tPSA concentrations of 0 to 20 μg/L using seven PSA and six fPSA commercial assays, including Access, ARCHITECT i2000, ADVIA Centaur XP, IMMULITE 2000, Elecsys, and Lumipulse G1200, in which we only measured tPSA. tPSA and fPSA were measured in Access using the Hybritech and WHO calibrators. Passing–Bablok analysis was performed for PSA, and percentage of fPSA with the Hybritech-calibrated access comparison assay. For tPSA, relative differences were more than 10 % at 0.2 μg/L for ARCHITECT i2000, and at a critical concentration of 3, 4, and 10 μg/L, the relative difference was exceeded by ADVIA Centaur XP and WHO-calibrated Access. For percent fPSA, at a critical concentration of 10 %, the 10 % relative difference limit was exceeded by IMMULITE 2000 assay. At a critical concentration of 20 and 25 %, ADVIA Centaur XP, ARCHITECT i2000, and IMMULITE 2000 assays exceeded the 10 % relative difference limit. We have shown significant discordances between assays included in this study despite advances in standardization conducted in the last years. Further harmonization efforts are required in order to obtain a complete clinical concordance.


Prostate cancer PSA free PSA WHO PSA standards 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Foj
    • 1
  • X Filella
    • 1
  • J. Alcover
    • 2
  • J. M. Augé
    • 1
  • J. M. Escudero
    • 1
  • R. Molina
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (CDB), Hospital ClínicIDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Urology, Hospital ClínicIDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain

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