Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), the main marker for prostate cancer (PCa), is released from the prostate into the blood stream at nanogram level and may increase in PCa and nonmalignant disease such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). More recently, advantage was taken of PSA's ability to bind to protease inhibitors in serum in order to improve discrimination between PCa and BPH, using the free PSA to total PSA ratio. The understanding of this phenomenon at molecular level, which is still unknown, may promise new improvements in the field of diagnostics. For this purpose, we determined the pattern of PSA forms in PCa and BPH sera, using the high resolving power of two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) in conjunction with the high sensitivity of chemiluminescence detection. Serum PSA differs drastically from seminal PSA: apart from complexed forms, serum PSA shows few cleaved forms. Moreover, 2-DE patterns from PCa are relatively homogeneous, whereas patterns from BPH may in some cases present a higher proportion of cleaved forms and in other cases present slightly more basic spots. We therefore demonstrated, for the first time, that an increase in the free to total PSA ratio in BPH cases may be due to cleaved PSA forms (which are enzymatically inactive and unable to bind inhibitors), or possibly related to basic free PSA, which may represent the zymogen forms.