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PSA Velocity Predicts Prostate Cancer Outcomes

Men with high PSA velocity before cancer diagnosis have significantly poorer survival rates

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) velocity, the rate at which PSA increases or decreases, predicts survival in men who later develop prostate cancer, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

H. Ballentine Carter, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues assessed PSA velocity in 104 living prostate-cancer patients, 20 deceased patients and 856 men without prostate cancer.

The researchers found that PSA velocity measured 10 to 15 years before a cancer diagnosis was associated with survival 25 years later. In men with a PSA velocity of 0.35 ng/mL per year or less, they found that survival was 92 percent compared to 54 percent in men with a PSA velocity of more than 0.35 ng/mL per year. They also found that men with low PSA velocity had a lower relative risk of death (140 per 100,000 person-years) compared to men with a high PSA velocity (1,240 per 100,000 person-years).

"What is most compelling [about this study] is the implication that applying a mathematical method to a modest screening test might actually help to distinguish the cancer that requires aggressive intervention to save the life of the patient from one that will remain indolent and can be safely ignored," states the author of an accompanying editorial.

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