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PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine the potential of cell-free DNA levels as a diagnostic marker for prostate cancer, having first established the effect that blood sample processing has on this measurement. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A total of 152 blood samples were collected prospectively from patients before their prostate biopsy and 25 from men in two distinct control groups. Blood was processed to yield three components: one-spin plasma (n = 68), two-spin plasma (n = 152), and serum (n = 56) samples. RESULTS: Having established the effect of sample preparation on the measured DNA level, the more reliable two-spin plasma sample was used to determine the relationship between DNA and the presence of prostate cancer. Those patients with cancer (n = 78) had a significantly higher level of DNA compared with the control groups (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001). However, DNA levels in patients with a benign biopsy (n = 74) were significantly higher than the 78 patients confirmed to have cancer (P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the sample type used in the quantitation of cell-free DNA has an effect on the level reported. Elevated levels are present in the two-spin plasma samples of patients with prostate cancer compared with healthy controls but are not of diagnostic value during the management of prostate cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Cancer Res

Publication Date





1394 - 1399


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Centrifugation, DNA, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Prostatic Diseases, Prostatic Neoplasms, Sensitivity and Specificity