Stop PSA Screening for Men Over 75 with a Low PSA

06/16/2009 - News

Stop PSA Screening for Men Over 75 with a Low PSA

By: June Chen, MD


While testing for prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a useful prostate cancer screening tool, a new study published in the April 2009 of The Journal of Neurology supports discontinuation of routine PSA screening in men over the age of 75, but only those who already have low PSA levels .


Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted a study involving 849 men, 122 of whom developed prostate cancer. The researchers analyzed serial PSA measurements and found that, among men over 75 with PSA levels of less than 3 ng/ml, none died of prostate cancer and only one developed a high-risk prostate cancer. In contrast, all men with a PSA greater than 3 ng/ml had a continually rising probability of dying from prostate cancer.

In up to 30% of cases, PSA screening detects prostate cancers that never become life-threatening. Last year, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) made a similar, but even broader, recommendation to stop screening in all men aged 75 or older. Discontinuation of routine PSA screening in low-risk groups could potentially avoid unnecessary treatments and reduce healthcare costs.


The Journal of Urology, Volume 181, Issue 4 (April 2009)

Created on: 02/25/2009
Reviewed on: 06/16/2009

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