10/07/2003 - News

Marker for death risk from prostate cancer

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Men whose levels of prostate specific antigen double rapidly have a poor prognosis for prostate cancer.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is often used to indicate prognosis. diagnosis and monitoring of prostate cancer. Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston now report on how PSA levels after treatment for prostate cancer affect the outcome.

They looked at time to prostate cancer specific mortality in a group of 8,669 men who had been treated with surgery or radiation therapy for localized or locally advanced prostate cancer. They found that those whose PSA levels doubled in less than three months were especially at risk. Their mortality rate from prostate cancer was 20 fold compared to those whose PSA levels did not rise like this. They also had a seven fold increase in all-cause mortality. The study suggests that men whose PSA goes up dramatically after treatment should, perhaps, be offered hormone therapy which could help treat the cancer more aggressively and improve their survival chances.


Journal of the National Cancer Institute 17th September 2003

Created on: 10/07/2003
Reviewed on: 10/07/2003

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