Prostate Screening Does Not Reduce Mortality In Study

Uncertainty of screening should be explained to patients, authors say

MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Screening healthy men for prostate cancer is not effective in reducing mortality and guidelines should not endorse routine screening as a way to reduce mortality in asymptomatic men, according to a study in the Jan. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

John Concato, M.D., M.P.H., from the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, and colleagues examined data from 71,661 men from 10 Veterans Affairs medical centers to determine whether those with prostate cancer had been previously screened by the prostate-specific antigen test, or digital rectal examination.

The researchers found that 501 men were diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Having had the prostate-specific antigen test either alone or in combination with a digital rectal examination was not associated with a reduction in mortality.

"Recommendations regarding screening for prostate cancer should not endorse routine testing of asymptomatic men to reduce mortality," the authors write. "The uncertainty of screening should be explained to patients."

Michael J. Barry, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, writes in an accompanying editorial that a recent study in the Journal of Urology found a moderate protective effect of prostate-specific antigen testing, and that trials are under way to examine whether prostate cancer screening is beneficial.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract - Journal of Urology
Full Text - Journal of Urology

Physician's Briefing