Prevalence of elevated serum prostate-specific antigen in rural Nigeria

Flora Ukoli, Usifo Osime, Folasade Akereyeni, Osazuwa Okunzuwa, Rick Kittles, Lucile Adams-Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Recent hospital and cancer registry data show increasing prostate cancer incidence in Nigeria, which was previously regarded as a low incidence region. This study investigates the prevalence of prostate cancer risk in a previously unscreened cohort of rural Nigerians. Methods: Rural Nigerian men, 40 years and older, were screened by serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE) and those with PSA ≥ 4 ng/mL and/or abnormal DRE were referred for prostate biopsy. Results: Of 200 consecutive men invited, 151 (75.5%) presented for screening, the mean age was 56.45 + 15.1 and 95 (61.6%) were ≥ 50 years of age. Of the 140 who consented to a blood test, PSA correlated with age (r = 0.3, P < 0.01), 14 (10.0%) had abnormal PSA ≥ 4 ng/mL, increasing from 3 (3.6%) in men < 60 years to 4 (50%) in men ≥ 80 years. The rate was 13 (15.7%) for men ≥ 50 years and there was no evidence of increased incidence of prostatitis in the community. Mean (median) PSA in ng/mL increased from 1.17 (0.60) in the youngest to 13.75 (4.45) in the oldest cohort. Of those who accepted DRE, 38 (29.0%) had an enlarged prostate, including two who had nodular prostate, one-third with symptoms, increasing from 4 (5.4%) in those < 50 years to 6 (75.0%) in men ≥ 80 years. The proportion of men with PSA ≥ 4 ng/mL among those with enlarged vs normal prostate is 27.0 to 3.4%, P < 0.001, and the pattern was similar for men ≥ 60 years and those < 60 years of age. The 40 (32.0%) men referred for prostate biopsy defaulted mainly because they did not fully understand the need for further investigation because they were symptom free or afraid of the possible side-effects of the procedure or diagnosis of cancer. Conclusion: The proportion of men with PSA ≥ 4 ng/mL is comparable to that of previously unscreened populations with high incidence of prostate cancer such as African-American men. A larger study is required to confirm these findings and intensify efforts to determine the prostate cancer detection rate by biopsy in this population. A prostate cancer awareness and education campaign will be useful in this community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-322
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Africa
  • Black
  • Digital rectal examination
  • Nigeria
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostate-specific antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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