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PSA Predicts Future for Prostate Cancer Patients

Study finds low levels five years after radiation increase survival odds

THURSDAY, Oct. 3, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Measuring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men five years after they receive radiation treatment for prostate cancer helps predict their chances for survival for several years.

That's the finding of a new study in the October International Journal of Radiation Oncology.

Men who have very low PSA levels at the five-year mark have low odds of suffering a relapse of prostate cancer at 10 years and beyond, the study says.

Researchers identified 328 men whose prostate cancer was treated with external beam radiation and were biochemically disease-free five years after their treatment. Median follow-up was 7.4 years.

The men were divided into four groups according to their PSA levels at the five-year mark: those with PSA less than or equal to 0.5; 0.5 to 1.0; 1.0 to 2.0; and 2.0 to 4.0 ng/mL. Ten years after treatment, the PSA progression-free survival rates for the groups were 92 percent, 71 percent, 78 percent, and 56 percent, respectively.

"This study reinforces the fact that radiation therapy should be used to achieve low PSA levels early in treatment, and those low levels should be maintained to five years and beyond, " says study co-author Dr. Anthony L. Zietman, of the department of radiation oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"If this can be achieved, the long-term outlook for prostate cancer patients treated with radiation therapy will be good," Zietman says.

More information

Learn more about PSA at the American Foundation for Urologic Disease.

SOURCE: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, news release, October 2002
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