A study looking at measuring a substance called citrate to diagnose prostate cancer

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study looked at measuring the level of citrate in semen to detect cancer.

If your doctor thinks you may have prostate cancer you will have some tests. These include a prostate biopsy and blood test called a PSA test.

More about this trial

Researchers wanted to look at a possible new test for prostate cancer. They measured levels of a substance called citrate in semen Open a glossary item. Citrate is a metabolite and is formed as part of normal body processes. These alter as cancers grow, changing citrate levels in prostate cells.

The aim of this study was to see if measuring citrate levels in semen could be useful as a test to diagnose prostate cancer.

Summary of results

The research team found that citrate levels in semen could be a useful indicator of prostate cancer.

This trial recruited men who were having tests for prostate cancer. The research team looked at 32 samples. For each person taking part they looked at

They found that

  • The 3 men taking part who had high grade prostate cancer also had the lowest level of citrate
  • There was no link between the level of citrate and the PSA level
  • For the 7 men who had an operation to remove their prostate (a radical prostatectomy), there was a link between the grade of cancer and citrate level

The research team are keeping an eye on 2 men who didn’t have prostate cancer but had a raised PSA level and a low citrate level. They think the low citrate level may mean these men have very early stage prostate cancer, and they would like to find out more.

They concluded that measuring citrate level in semen could be useful to help diagnose prostate cancer.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial.  As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor David Parker

Supported by

Durham University
Fscan Limited
James Cook University Hospital

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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