Abnormal Digital Rectal Examination

  • James Duthie
  • Helen Freeborn
  • Declan G. Murphy


Despite advances in imaging techniques, and evaluation of blood and urine markers, the digital rectal examination (DRE) remains a cornerstone of the urological assessment. Barriers to effective DRE remain embarrassment (of both the patient, and the clinician), lack of thorough assessment (the “nominal” examination), and a lack of experience causes misinterpretation of results. An abnormal DRE almost always requires further investigation.


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Seminal Vesicle Lower Urinary Tract Symptom Digital Rectal Examination Prostate Cancer Screening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Catalona W, Smith D, Ratliff T, Dodds K, Coplen D, Yuan J, Petros J, Andriole G. Measurement of prostate- specific antigen in serum as a screening test for prostate cancer. New Engl J Med. 1991;324:1156–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Godley P. Prostate cancer screening: promise and peril—a review. Cancer Detect Prev. 1999;23:316–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mistry K, Cable G. Meta-analysis of prostate-specific antigen and digital rectal examination as screening tests for prostate carcinoma. J Am Board Fam Med. 2003;16(2):95–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ng T, Vasilareas D, Mitterdorfer A, Maher P, Lalak A. Prostate cancer detection with digital rectal examination, prostate-specific antigen, transrectal ultrasonography and biopsy in clinical urological practice. Brit J Urol Int. 2005;95(4):545–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Okotie O, Roehl K, Han M, Loeb S, Gashti S, Catalona W. Characteristics of prostate cancer detected by digital rectal examination only. Urology. 2007;70(6):1117–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schroder F, van der Maas P, Beemsterboer P, Kruger A, Hoedemaeker R, Rietbergen J, Kranse R. Evaluation of the digital rectal examination as a screening test for prostate cancer. Rotterdam section of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer. J Natl Cancer I. 1998;90(23):1817–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Smith D, Catalona W. Interexaminer variability of digital rectal examination in detecting prostate cancer. Urology. 1995;45(1):70–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Duthie
    • 1
  • Helen Freeborn
    • 1
  • Declan G. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Surgery, Peter MacCallum Cancer CentreUniversity of MelbourneEast MelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations