Background:Prostate cancer (PCa) screening currently relies on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal examination. However, recent large-scale studies have questioned the long-term efficacy of these tests, and biomarkers that accurately identify PCa are needed.Methods:We analysed the levels of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in patients with elevated PSA who were diagnosed with either localised PCa (n=36) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, n=31) upon biopsy. Real-time RT-PCR with Taqman probes was used to measure plasma levels of miRNAs. To circumvent problems associated with circulating miRNA quantitation, we computed the expression ratios of upregulated and downregulated miRNAs.Results:The miR-106a/miR-130b and miR-106a/miR-223 ratios were significantly different between the biopsy-positive and BPH groups (P<0.0001), and yielded statistical power values that were >0.99. Both miRNA ratios were highly sensitive and more specific than PSA in discriminating localised PCa from BPH. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed area under curve values of 0.81 (miR-106a/miR-130b) and 0.77 (miR-106a/miR-223).Conclusions:Testing for circulating miR-106a/miR-130b and miR-106a/miR-223 ratios may reduce the costs and morbidity of unnecessary biopsies and is feasible for large-scale screening, as it requires measuring only three miRNAs.