Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Screening and Elevated PSA Work-up—Is there a role anymore?

Lane Shish, Joseph Zabell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Prostate cancer (PCa) screening tools, particularly digital rectal examination (DRE), are under scrutiny. This review assesses the utility of DRE in PCa screening. Recent Findings: Recent studies reaffirm the DRE’s sensitivity and specificity, a higher PCa detection rate with PSA in conjunction with DRE, and a slightly elevated risk of clinically significant PCa (CSPC) in those with elevated PSA and suspicious DRE. Studies confirm high accuracy of MRI in identifying CSPC, with ongoing research exploring its screening potential. Summary: DRE alone lacks accuracy for PCa screening, often resulting in missed diagnoses and unnecessary biopsies. Its supplementary use with PSA marginally increases detection rates of identifying a small percentage of CSPC, but the benefit remains questionable. Emerging evidence suggests MRI has the potential as a superior screening tool compared to DRE, although direct comparative studies are lacking. Overall, the DRE has a limited role in current PCa screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Urology Reports
Issue number8
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Digital rectal exam
  • Elevated PSA
  • Prostate cancer screening

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital Rectal Exam in Prostate Cancer Screening and Elevated PSA Work-up—Is there a role anymore?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this