Is 0 PSA really 0

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 264
   Posted 9/8/2007 9:30 AM (GMT -6)   
My VA doctor has been telling me for a year that the PSA has been negative.  I just received a copy of my medical records and it has always has been .01 or .02.  It is impossible to get him on the phone to question him.  Does anyone know if a small amount of PSA is always in the blood?  3 months ago it was .01 this month it was .02 so I am also wondering if the test is definitive or does the Lab make a judgement call as to the amount of PSA?  Thanks!
Prostate Cancer, Removed by Da Vincie Robotic
in Aug. 2006 
Poorly Differentiated Adenocarcinoma involving Left and Right Lobes involving 80% of the Specimens
Gleason 4+4=8
Pathologic Stage T2C No Mx
Age at Diag. 51

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 681
   Posted 9/8/2007 9:49 AM (GMT -6)   


After a prostatectomy if no cancer remains in the body, the PSA is usually espressed as a "less than" > number.  My pathology comes back as Less than .01.  Expressed as >.01 Sometimes pathologist use other numbers to express the same thing.

When your urologist says it is negative he is probably referring to these numbers.

Maybe you can get the pathologist to explain what your psa numbers mean.

Biopsy 10/16/06
T2A,  PSA 4.7
Gleason 4+4=8 right side
adrenocarcinoma of prostate
DaVinci Surgery 01/16/07
Post op report,confirms Gleason4+4=8
no extra extension/invasion identified
age 65
Back on the golf course...
90 day PSA  less than 0.01 (undetectable)
Six Month PSA still undetectable
Beginning injection therapy for ed (08/07/07)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 52
   Posted 9/8/2007 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rock

A lot of times numbers such as yours are considered 0. This is very normal. First there is a margin of error and secondly there seems to be what I call an "echo" number such as yours which is extremely low.

My post surgery number was less than .05 which I consider 0. This of course does not mean that I stop testing. I will have another blood test probably this week. I am expecting the best.

Congratulations on the great results.

Age 50
Diagnosed 4/24/07
PSA 5.5
cancer in 8 of 12 biopsy samples
gleason score 4+4=8; up to 70% pti;
some perineural invasion
surgery performed 5/23/07
clean margins--clean lymph--clean seminal vessel--capsule not penetrated
gleason score upgraded to 9
4-5 weeks out--pad gone
6 week PSA--<0.05

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 9/8/2007 11:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi rock,
I have read that a PSA consistently below .05 is something that doctor's don't worry about.  Readings of .01 and .02 are in the margin or error for a true zero measurement.   I haven't seen anyone have a true "0" reading, so you'll see people call a .01 or .02 a "goose egg" reading.  I think you're doing great!
I hope this helps!
Barry (a.k.a. Idaho)

Da Vinci Surgery July 31, 2007… 54 on surgery day
PSA 4.3  Gleason 3+3=6  T2a  Confined to Prostate

Waiting to take that first post-op PSA

My awareness web site:


Tony Crispino
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 8128
   Posted 9/8/2007 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
You should have a minmal amount detected. And remember, women can have a measurable PSA level as well when using the fine PSA assays. My understanding is that our adrenal glands can produce enough PSA to be detected. This is why ultrafine PSA tests will show a fluctuating amount of PSA. It is also why my oncologist does not use those tests. According to him anything below 0.1 is considered likely not produced by prostate cancer. I have been watching this site for close to a year and have seen some of your PSA's measured in numbers like .01, .05 etc. Of course it struck me to ask why my tests were only a single digit in the tenths column. My oncologist said he could run finer PSA assays but would not because of the natural ability to produce PSA by other means would render the test less than 50% accurate. So I'm told.

Age 45 (44 when Dx)
Pre-op PSA was 19.8
Surgery on Feb 16, 2007
Post-Op Pathology was poor: Gleason 4+3=7, 4 positive margins, Stage pT3b (Stage III)
HT began in May, '07 with Lupron and Casodex 50mg
IMRT radiation for 38 Treatments ending August 3, '07
My PSA did drop out after surgery to undetectable.  It has not returned and I will continue HT until January '08.
My Life is supported very well by family and friends like you all.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2542
   Posted 9/8/2007 6:37 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey ~ Rock,

Keeping you close as you move forward.

A special Woo~Hoo comin' atchu!! from British Columbia, Canada...  Thanks for staying close.

I'll place a thread here that has some good information...

Low level PSA after surgery started by Opie

Keeping you close in thoughts and prayers..

In Friendship ~ Lee & Buddy

edited to activate links

mama bluebird - Lee & Buddy… from North Carolina


v          We invite you to visit our personal thread:  Click Here:  “Our Journey” ~ Sharing is Caring 

April 3, 2006  53 on surgery day

RRP / Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy

PSA 4.6   Gleason  3+3=6    T2a   Confined to Prostate

3rd PSA 08-07-2007 Less than 0.1 Non-Detectable :)

Post Edited (bluebird) : 9/8/2007 5:41:24 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 120
   Posted 9/12/2007 5:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Kind of late to post, but sometimes the difference in the PSA score could come about because of two different labs doing the testing. Be sure to always use the same lab to test your PSA. Hang tight and God Bless, Uncle Dan
Age 67
No symptoms, DRE negative
10-06 PSA 5.44 01-07 PSA 6.47
CT and Bone scan negative
05-07 Biopsies, 2 of 6 positive
Gleason Score (3+4) 7 Stage T1c
08-14 Dr. Dasari - Baptist Hospital
da Vinci RAP, five hours surgery
Hospital 2 1/2 days, 8 -14 to 8 -16
Pathology report Negative margins
Cancer encapsulated,
Lymph nodes 2 R & 1 L - Negative,
R & L seminal vesicles - Negative
Gleason changed (4+3) 7 closer to 8 than 6
8-31 Use pad when out, Sleeping without pad.

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