Assessment of men’s risk thresholds to proceed with prostate biopsy for the early detection of prostate cancer

  • Kevin KooEmail author
  • Elias S. Hyams
Urology - Original Paper



To delineate the range of “risk thresholds” for prostate biopsy to determine how improved prostate cancer (CaP) risk prediction tools may impact shared decision-making (SDM).


We conducted a cross-sectional survey study involving men 45–75 years old attending a multispecialty urology clinic. Data included demographics, personal and family prostate cancer history, and prostate biopsy history. Respondents were presented with a summary of the details, risks, and benefits of prostate biopsy, then asked to indicate the specific risk threshold (% chance) of high-grade CaP at which they would proceed with prostate biopsy.


Of a total of 103 respondents, 18 men (17%) had a personal history of CaP, and 31 (30%) had undergone prostate biopsy. The median risk threshold to proceed with prostate biopsy was 25% (interquartile range 10–50%). Risk thresholds did not vary by race, education, or employment. Personal history of CaP or prostate biopsy was significantly associated with lower mean risk thresholds (19% vs. 32% [P = 0.02] and 23% vs. 33% [P = 0.04], respectively). In the lowest versus highest risk threshold quartiles, there were significantly higher rates of CaP (36% vs. 1%, P = 0.01) and prior prostate biopsy (46% vs. 17%, P < 0.01).


Men have a wide range of risk thresholds for high-grade CaP to proceed with prostate biopsy. Men with a prior history of CaP or biopsy reported lower risk thresholds, which may reflect their greater concern for this disease. The extent to which refined risk prediction tools will improve SDM warrants further study.


Prostate cancer Biopsy Shared decision-making Risk Patient counseling 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11255_2019_2196_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Urology, Department of SurgeryDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterLebanonUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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