Patients in remission of prostate cancer, or following a radical prostatectomy, continue to be monitored on a prescribed basis using PSA.
As previously discussed, ANY detection of PSA in the blood of a patient who has had a radical prostatectomy is reason for concern and warrants more thorough investigation as to the source of the PSA production.
The increase of PSA level in a patient who has been previously successfully treated for prostate cancer is also a cause for concern, as it may indicate the resurgence or regrowth of a tumor, or may indicate that the benign tissues of the prostate are producing increased amounts of PSA due to infection, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or acute urinary retention due to an obstruction.
A great deal of time has been dedicated in this exercise to examining the utility of PSA, as it is one of the most widely studied, well-characterized, and analytically standardized tumor marker. Despite these facts, PSA still falls short of being the ideal tumor marker.