Purpose: We examined the effect of lowering prostate-specific antigen (PSA) threshold on the number of Korean men requiring a prostate biopsy. Materials and methods: We evaluated men who had serum PSA levels tested at routine physical check-ups between 1999 and 2005 at 11 domestic hospitals. Men with PSA ≥ 10ng/ml or patients with prostate cancer were excluded. A total of 45,074 men (aged 50 to 79 years) were enrolled and split into three age groups: 50-59 years, 60-69 years, and 70-79 years. For each age group, we calculated the number and proportion of men whose PSA level exceeded potential biopsy thresholds: 2.5ng/ml, 3.0ng/ml, and 4.0ng/ml. Results were extrapolated to the 4.992 million men older than 50 years old, or 21.3% of the Korean male population in 2005. Results: The number of biopsy candidates at the threshold of 4.0ng/ ml, 3.0ng/ml, and 2.5ng/ml were 1,321 (2.9%), 2,248 (5.4%), and 3,577 (7.9%), respectively. Extrapolating to the male population in Korea, lowering the PSA threshold from 4.0ng/ml to 3.0 or 2.5ng/ml would increase the number of men needing biopsy by 1.75 and 2.49 times, respectively. Conclusions: Lowering the PSA threshold would increase the number of men receiving prostate biopsy despite the low reference age for PSA in Korea. Considering the low incidence of prostate cancer, physicians should be careful in altering the PSA threshold.
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