Background The European Association of Urology guidelines recommend a risk-based strategy for prostate cancer screening based on the first prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and age.
Objective To analyze the impact of the first PSA level on prostate cancer (PCa) detection and PCa-specific mortality (PCSM) in a population-based screening trial (repeat screening every 2–4 yr).
Design, setting, and participants We evaluated 25 589 men aged 55–59 yr, 16 898 men aged 60–64 yr, and 12 936 men aged 65–69 yr who attended at least one screening visit in the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) trial (screening arm: repeat PSA testing every 2–4 yr and biopsy in cases with elevated PSA; control arm: no active screening offered) during 16-yr follow-up (FU).
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis We assessed the actuarial probability for any PCa and for clinically significant (cs)PCa (Gleason ≥7). Cox proportional-hazards regression was performed to assess whether the association between baseline PSA and PCSM was comparable for all age groups. A Lorenz curve was computed to assess the association between baseline PSA and PCSM for men aged 60–61 yr.
Results and limitations The overall actuarial probability at 16 yr ranged from 12% to 16% for any PCa and from 3.7% to 5.7% for csPCa across the age groups. The actuarial probability of csPCa at 16 yr ranged from 1.2–1.5% for men with PSA <1.0 ng/ml to 13.3–13.8% for men with PSA ≥3.0 ng/ml. The association between baseline PSA and PCSM differed marginally among the three age groups. A Lorenz curve for men aged 60–61 yr showed that 92% of lethal PCa cases occurred among those with PSA above the median (1.21 ng/ml). In addition, for men initially screened at age 60–61 yr with baseline PSA <2 ng/ml, further continuation of screening is unlikely to be beneficial after the age of 68–70 yr if PSA is still <2 ng/ml. No case of PCSM emerged in the subsequent 8 yr (up to age 76–78 yr). A limitation is that these results may not be generalizable to an opportunistic screening setting or to contemporary clinical practice.
Conclusions In all age groups, baseline PSA can guide decisions on the repeat screening interval. Baseline PSA of <1.0 ng/ml for men aged 55–69 yr is a strong indicator to delay or stop further screening.
Patient summary In prostate cancer screening, the patient’s baseline PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level can be used to guide decisions on when to repeat screening. The PSA test when used according to current knowledge is valuable in helping to reduce the burden of prostate cancer.
Link to article: Relationship Between Baseline Prostate-specific Antigen on Cancer Detection and Prostate Cancer Death: Long-term Follow-up from the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer – European Urology