The PCPT prostate cancer risk calculator

The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) prostate cancer risk calculator was the first online prostate cancer risk assessment tool to allow a man to assess his risk for prostate cancer in consultation with his primary care physician.

This tool was developed by Thompson et al., based on data developed from 5,519 men in the placebo group of the PCPT trial who went on to have a biopsy after final completion of the therapy stage of the trial.

In addition to PSA and DRE results, the nomogram is based on knowledge of the following patient characteristics: any prior biopsy data, age, family history of prostate cancer, and ethnicity.

At this time, this nomogram is considered to be the “standard” nomogram for assessment of risk for prostate cancer. The more recent Sunnybrook nomogram is based on additional data, but has yet to be validated.

A “plug and play” version of the PCPT prostate cancer risk calculator is available on the University of Texas Health Sciences Center web site. If you want to use the calculator, all you need to do is enter the following data:

  • Your age
  • Your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level
  • Your ethnic background
  • Your family history of prostate cancer
  • Whether your have a positive or negative digital rectal exam (DRE) result
  • Whether you have had a prior negative prostate biopsy

An updated version of the calculator is also available (on the same site) that allows you to add prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) data if you also have these data available.

To give you an idea of how this calculator works, here are the data for its use for a man who seems to be a lot like the current writer:

  • Age: 61 years
  • PSA level: 1.2 ng/ml
  • Ethnic background: Caucasian
  • Family history of prostate cancer: None
  • Positive or negative DRE result: Negative
  • Prior negative prostate biopsy: None

When these data are inserted into the PCPT calulator, the results for this man are:

  • Estimated risk of biopsy-detectable high-risk prostate cancer: 2 percent
  • Estimated risk of biopsy-detectable low-risk prostate cancer: 12 percent
  • Probability of a negative biopsy result (i.e., no evidence of prostate cancer): 86 percent
  • Chance that he will have an infection that may require hospitalization: 2 to 4 percent
Content on this page last reviewed and updated March 17, 2014.
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