Purpose Prostate specific antigen sensitivity increases with lower threshold values but with a corresponding decrease in specificity. Magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasound targeted biopsy detects prostate cancer more efficiently and at higher grade than standard 12-core transrectal ultrasound biopsy but the optimal population for its use is not well defined. We evaluated the performance of magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasound targeted biopsy vs 12-core biopsy across a prostate specific antigen continuum. Materials and Methods We reviewed the records of all patients enrolled in a prospective trial who underwent 12-core transrectal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasound targeted biopsies from August 2007 through February 2014. Patients were stratified by each of 4 prostate specific antigen cutoffs. The greatest Gleason score using either biopsy method was compared in and across groups as well as across the population prostate specific antigen range. Clinically significant prostate cancer was defined as Gleason 7 (4 + 3) or greater. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results A total of 1,003 targeted and 12-core transrectal ultrasound biopsies were performed, of which 564 diagnosed prostate cancer for a 56.2% detection rate. Targeted biopsy led to significantly more upgrading to clinically insignificant disease compared to 12-core biopsy. This trend increased more with increasing prostate specific antigen, specifically in patients with prostate specific antigen 4 to 10 and greater than 10 ng/ml. Prostate specific antigen 5.2 ng/ml or greater captured 90% of upgrading by targeted biopsy, corresponding to 64% of patients who underwent multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging and subsequent fusion biopsy. Conversely a greater proportion of clinically insignificant disease was detected by 12-core vs targeted biopsy overall. These differences persisted when controlling for potential confounders on multivariate analysis. Conclusions Prostate cancer upgrading with targeted biopsy increases with an increasing prostate specific antigen cutoff. Above a prostate specific antigen threshold of 5.2 ng/ml most upgrading to clinically significant disease was achieved by targeted biopsy. In our population this corresponded to potentially sparing biopsy in 36% of patients who underwent multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging. Below this value 12-core biopsy detected more clinically insignificant cancer. Thus, the diagnostic usefulness of targeted biopsy is optimized in patients with prostate specific antigen 5.2 ng/ml or greater.