Sebastiaan Remmers, Daan Nieboer, Monique J. Roobol
Background The ERSPC study has demonstrated that prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening results in a relative increase in diagnosis of (low-risk) prostate cancer (PCa) and a reduction in metastatic disease and PCa mortality.
Objective To evaluate the burden of PCa among men randomized to active screening compared to those in the control arm in ERSPC Rotterdam.
Design, setting, and participants We analyzed data for participants in the Dutch section of the ERSPC, including 21 169 men randomized to the screening arm and 21 136 randomized to the control arm. Men in the screening arm were invited for PSA-based screening every 4 yr, and transrectal ultrasound–guided prostate biopsy was recommended for those with PSA ≥3.0 ng/ml.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis We analyzed detailed follow-up and mortality data up to January 1, 2019, to a maximum of 21 yr, using multistate models.
Results and limitations At 21 yr, 3046 men (14%) had been diagnosed with nonmetastatic PCa and 161 (0.76%) with metastatic PCa in the screening arm. In the control arm, 1698 men (8.0%) had been diagnosed with nonmetastatic PCa and 346 (1.6%) with metastatic PCa. In comparison to the control arm, men in the screening arm were diagnosed with PCa almost 1 yr earlier and if diagnosed with nonmetastatic PCa lived on average for almost 1 yr longer without disease progression. Among those who experienced biochemical recurrence (18–19% after nonmetastatic PCa), progression to metastatic disease or death was quicker in the control arm: men in the screening arm lived for 7.17 yr without progression, while the progression-free interval was only 1.59 yr for men in the control arm over a 10-yr time period. Among those who experienced metastatic disease, men in both study arms lived for 5 yr over a 10-yr time period.
Conclusions PCa diagnosis was earlier after study entry for men in the PSA-based screening arm. However, disease progression was not as fast in the screening arm as in the control arm: once men in the control arm experienced biochemical recurrence, progression to metastatic disease or death was 5.6 yr faster than in the screening arm. Our results confirm the ability of early disease detection to reduce suffering and death from PCa at the cost of earlier (and more frequent) treatment-induced reductions in quality of life.
Patient summary Our study shows that early detection of prostate cancer can reduce suffering and death from this disease. However, screening based on measurement of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) can also result in an earlier treatment-induced reduction in quality of life.
Link: The Patient Journey from Randomization to Detection of Prostate Cancer and Death: Results from ERSPC Rotterdam – ScienceDirect