Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biopsy referral after PSA screening stays consistent over time

13.12.2011
No movement toward more aggressive follow-up, study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds

After the US Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial found cancer in many men with low levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), many debated which PSA level should lead to a biopsy recommendation. The US Preventive Screening Task Force (USPSTF) recently concluded, amid considerable controversy, that the evidence does not support recommending PSA screening for men under 75 years old at all, because the risks outweigh the benefits. Now, a study shows that physicians in a large Washington state health plan were being conservative in biopsy referral even before the USPSTF recommendation.

"Despite considerable recent debate about lowering the threshold for referring men to biopsy, we detected no change toward more aggressive biopsy referral practices in data spanning more than a decade for one integrated delivery system," says lead author Steven Zeliadt, PhD, of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. "In fact, we observed an opposite pattern, with biopsies becoming slightly less common over the study period. This may reflect growing awareness of the problems of overdiagnosis and overtreatment—and the fact that many men die with prostate cancer but not from it."

Controversy is longstanding about what PSA threshold should be used to refer men for biopsy. The generally accepted standard is 4.0 ng/mL. However, some have urged lowering the level to 2.5 ng/mL, abandoning a specific cutoff altogether, or measuring the PSA velocity, or change over time, instead of absolute level. Dr. Zeliadt and his colleagues set out to determine if the actual biopsy referral practices in a community setting had changed in response to new recommendations, and to determine if PSA velocity is associated with follow-up biopsy.

The study examined PSA tests in members of Group Health, a health plan in Washington State and Northern Idaho, between 1997 and 2008. The final sample included 111,369 index tests among 54,831 subjects. For each test, the study evaluated the PSA level and velocity and the specific follow-up: receiving a biopsy within a year after the test date; attending a urology appointment within a year without biopsy; additional PSA testing within a year with no urology visit; and no PSA-related follow-up.

The researchers found that of tests with a PSA value greater than 4.0 ng/mL, 28% led to a biopsy within 12 months, and 38.6% were followed up by a urologist but did not result in a biopsy. Biopsies were slightly more common in the early years of the study, but biopsy rates did not differ over time for men with mild to moderate PSA levels. The threshold used for biopsy referral appeared not to change over time.

PSA velocity was strongly associated with biopsy. Among men whose PSA tests exceeded 4.0 ng/mL, those with a rapidly rising velocity were more likely to undergo biopsy. This rate was also consistent across the years of the study. "PSA velocity has been promoted for many years as having value for predicting death from prostate cancer, although several recent studies and evidence from screening trials have demonstrated that in practice, velocity adds little value. This is not surprising given that PSA is a continuous marker, and a rapid rise may be likely to trigger follow-up, thus reducing rates of death from prostate cancer," notes Dr. Zeliadt.

"Even small changes in the PSA threshold can substantially alter the potential harms and benefits of screening. However, providers have limited evidence to help them discuss this with patients," concludes Dr. Zeliadt, who is also affiliated with Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington. "This study highlights the importance of acknowledging that how aggressively patients are referred for biopsy is an important component of the PSA screening discussion."

The article is "Biopsy Follow-Up of Prostate-Specific Antigen Tests," by S.B. Zeliadt, D.S. Buist, R.J. Reid, D.C. Grossman, J. Ma, and R. Etzioni (doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.08.024). The article appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 42, Issue 1 (January 2012), published by Elsevier.

Beverly Lytton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>