Prostate Cancer Detection: PCA3

The PCA3 Test is a urine-based molecular test that detects the presence of Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 (PCA3). PCA3 is a gene that is over-expressed in prostate cancer cells. It is specific to prostate cancer cells rather than all prostate cells, and, if present in urine, is an indication of prostate cancer.

Our clinic is only one of a few locations in Canada where the PCA3 test is available.

When should you be tested for PCA3?

  • When you have an abnormal PSA level, with or without a negative biopsy result
  • If you have already had a negative biopsy result
  • If you have a high cancer risk, even if you have a low PSA level
  • To monitor your health, even if you have already had treatment for prostate cancer

Greater Accuracy for Cancer Diagnosis

While the PCA3 test is not a replacement for PSA, it does offer a number of advantages. The PCA3 test is a significantly more accurate tool for diagnosing prostate cancer.

PCA3 is only elevated in the presence of cancer cells. Benign enlargement of the prostate will not cause elevated PCA3.

PSA test, on the other hand, can show an elevated reading even when the prostate is enlarged due to conditions other than cancer (such as BPH).

Do you need a prostate biopsy?

PCA3 test is a reliable way to determine if you need a prostate biopsy.

  • If PSA is slightly elevated and PCA3 is within the normal range, a biopsy will most likely not show prostate cancer and will not be recommended
  • If the PCA3 level is elevated, a biopsy for prostate cancer will likely be performed


Prostate Cancer Monitoring

If your PSA levels continue to be elevated yet a previous biopsy showed no cancer, you may choose to monitor your prostate health using the PCA3 tests and avoid further biopsies unless there’s a meaningful change in your test results.

Tumor Aggressiveness

If you were found to have prostate cancer, PCA3 levels can help evaluate the aggressiveness of the tumor. When the PCA3 is low, the prostate cancer is more likely to advance very slowly. If PCA3 is elevated, the tumor is more likely to be aggressive.

How is the PCA3 Test Performed?

The PCA3 test is performed on a urine sample. Just prior to collecting the sample, the doctor will perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) to release cells from the prostate.

For more information about the PCA3 test, visit