Background/aims: Prostatic specific antigen (PSA) is the best prostatic tumor marker in man; Recently PSA has been detected in a variety of tissues and fluids in women and is considered a marker of hyperandrogenism. However no precise information are avaible about the physiology of PSA in females. The goal of this study was to assess serum concentrations of PSA in healthy pre-menopausal women (healthy pre-menopausal group) and menopausal women (menopause group) and compare then with affected by a specific kind of hyperandrogenism such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS group).
Methods: PSA, androgens, LH, FSH, 17-b-Estradiol (E2), Progesterone (Pg), were assessed by measurement in 40 post-menopausal women and 35 fertile controls. Thirty-five women with PCOS were also included in the study.
Results: No significant difference in PSA concentrations could be demonstrated in different phases of the menstrual cycle in healthy pre-menopausal group and between subjects in pre- and post-menopausal groups. No correlations could be demonstrated between serum PSA levels and the following parameters: Age, BMI, LH, FSH, E2, T, DHEAS, and SHBG, both in pre- and post-menopausal women. In the PCOS group, all the subjects showed a significantly higher PSA levels (median =14 pg/ml) as compared to pre-menopausal (median =5 pg/ml) and menopausal (median =5 pg/ml) groups, as well as increased androgen concentrations.
Conclusions: Only minor fluctuations of serum PSA concentrations are observed in the healthy state, while serum level is higher in PCOS. PSA can be considered a valid marker of female diseases such as pathological hyperandrogenism.