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Semin Urol Oncol. 2000 May;18(2):160-5.

Transient elevation of serum prostate-specific antigen following (125)I/(103)Pd brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer.

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  • 1Seattle Prostate Institute, WA 98104, USA.


Based on suggestions by anecdotal evidence to date, an attempt is made to estimate the occurrence of non-disease-related prostate-specific antigen (PSA) spiking in the serum PSA profiles of a series of men treated by (125)I/(103)Pd brachytherapy with or without external beam irradiation. Five hundred ninety-one patients treated between January 1988 and December 1993 were eligible for study. Patients whose clinical status was described as equivocal (declining PSA > 1.0 ng/mL or rising PSA without documented disease [9.6% of the cohort]) were not considered. Evidence of PSA increases that were followed by decline were identified. Treatment and disease-specific parameters were examined for influence of the occurrence of spiking. In patients judged biochemical successes at last follow-up (serum PSA < or = 1.0 ng/mL), 35.8% exhibited a temporary increase of 0.2 ng/mL or more. Seventy-five percent of these patients exhibited a temporary increase between 0.3 and 3.4 ng/mL. The average time of the temporary increases was 24.8 months after implant. Spiking was not associated with a higher risk of clinical failure in this data set. Conventional risk factors for recurrent disease were not associated with benign PSA spiking. Low-magnitude serum PSA spiking may occur in up to one third of patients following permanent, low-dose rate brachytherapy of the prostate. Most of these observations occur up to 3 years after implant and do not appear to be related to disease recurrence. Caution should be taken before initiating further therapy pursuant to the observation of PSA spiking of less than 2 to 3 ng/mL shortly following brachytherapy. Frequent serum PSA sampling following prostate brachytherapy with early follow-up may overestimate biochemical failure rates.

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