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Research Article

A population study of fasting time and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level


Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Traditional screening and diagnostic methods include digital rectal examinations (DREs), biopsies and serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, with the latter being the more popular. PSA is a biomarker for prostate cancer; however, it is highly sensitive to external factors as well as other prostate diseases. As such, the reliability of of the serum PSA level as a sole screening and diagnostic tool for prostate cancer is controversial. Recently, it has been shown that fasting extremes can affect concentrations of serum chemistry analytes, thus raising the question of whether or not fasting has an effect on the highly sensitive PSA biomarker. Patients testing for serum PSA levels are often concomitantly submitting to other tests that require fasting, subjecting certain patients to a fasting PSA level while others not. The objective of this study was to investigate whether this discrepancy in fasting state translates into an effect on serum PSA levels. Serum PSA levels and fasting time records for 157 276 men who underwent testing at Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS; Calgary, Alberta, Canada) between 01 January 2010 and 31 March 2013 were accessed. Linear regression models of mean PSA levels and fasting times revealed a statistically important relationship at certain fasting times. Applying a dynamic mathematical model to explore the clinical effect of fasting suggests minimal impact on serum PSA result interpretation. Thus, patients can be tested for serum PSA levels regardless of their fasting state.