Value of PSAV Test in Prostate Cancer Screening Debated

Commentary addresses inconsistencies in studies and problems of interpretation

FRIDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The value of prostate-specific antigen velocity (PSAV) as a screening tool for prostate cancer remains uncertain, in part because studies of the technique have been plagued by inconsistencies and biases in study design, according to a commentary published online Oct. 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Ruth D. Etzioni, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues reviewed recent studies of PSAV in an attempt to assess its value in early detection and suggest improvements for further research.

The authors argue that the standard interpretation of PSAV as a measure of absolute change in PSA in a year may confuse disease aggressiveness with the interval from disease onset to detection. They also argue that studies conducted to date have not helped clarify when and how PSAV screening is helpful in distinguishing high-risk from low-risk patients.

"There is clearly a need for markers other than PSA to improve diagnostic performance in early detection of prostate cancer, and many markers are currently under investigation," the authors conclude. "Perhaps the most important lesson to take from the PSAV debate is that we should be thinking about marker kinetics in a broader way."

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