Predicting prostate cancer many years before diagnosis: how and why?

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.
World Journal of Urology (Impact Factor: 3.42). 11/2011; 30(2):131-5. DOI: 10.1007/s00345-011-0795-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evidence of reduced prostate cancer mortality from randomized trials in Europe supports early detection of prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Yet PSA screening has generated considerable controversy: it is far from clear that the benefits outweigh risks, in terms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. One way to shift the ratio of benefits to harm is to focus on men at highest risk, who have more to benefit than average. Neither family history nor any of the currently identified genomic markers offer sufficient risk stratification for practical use. However, there is considerable evidence that the levels of PSA in blood are strongly prognostic of the long-term risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Specifically, it is difficult to justify continuing to screen men aged 60 or older if they have a PSA less than 1 or 2 ng/ml; for men 45-60, intervals between PSA tests can be based on PSA levels, with 2-4-year retesting interval for men with PSA of 1 ng/ml or higher, and tests every 6-8 years for men with PSA <1 ng/ml. Men with the top 10% of PSAs at a young age (PSA ~1.5 ng/ml or higher below 50) are at particularly high risk and should be subject to intensive monitoring.

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    ABSTRACT: Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 50 years. Digital rectal examination (DRE) and measurement of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations are standard screening methods for detecting prostate cancer. We retrospectively investigated the risks and benefits of repeated transrectal ultrasonography-guided prostate needle biopsies in relation to the follow-up status of men younger than 50 years with a consistently high PSA concentration (>3.0 ng/mL). During the period from January 2000 through February 2013, we reviewed patient's ages, dates of procedures, DRE results, frequencies of biopsies, results of the biopsies, periods of follow-up, PSA concentrations, and prostate volumes in Chonbuk National University Hospital records. We conducted telephone interviews in patients who did not undergo regular follow-up. The mean age of the patients was 44.7 years, and the mean PSA concentration was 8.59 ng/mL (range, 3.04-131 ng/mL) before biopsy. The PSA concentration was significantly different (p<0.001) between the patients with prostate cancer and those with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Nineteen patients underwent repeated prostate biopsy; however, in only one patient did the pathologic findings indicate a change from BPH to prostate cancer. We identified several complications after transrectal biopsy through an evaluation of follow-up data. All patients with benign prostatic disease based on their first biopsy were shown to have benign disease based on all repeated biopsies (15.83%), except for one patient; however, several complications were noted after biopsy. Therefore, the risks and benefits of repeated biopsy in young patients should be considered because of the low rate of change from benign to malignant disease despite continuously high PSA concentrations (>3.0 ng/mL).
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